Rachel's books

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



Midnight's Master

Midnight's Master - Donna Grant

So this picks right up where the last book (of the previous series; "Dark Sword") left off. While I think someone could read this one without reading the previous series, it would be more enjoyable if the 6 books in the "Dark Sword" series were read first. Just my opinion. This has been a nice, easy to read series that I've enjoyed thus far.
While I liked Gwynn, what was up with the high heels? Impractical! Gwynn has magic. She suppressed it because her mother thought it was weird/didn't like it (not much said about it), so she forgot about it/hide it. He dad goes missing, so she goes to Scotland to try to find him. For not being around magic, or believing in it, she gets a handle on it quickly. There really wasn't much of a learning curve. Considering this book takes place over 1 week, okay, fine, I'll buy it. 
Logan is from the past and time-traveled 400 years to the present when Deirdre went missing. Logan's got this big Secret (he wanted to know if he had god and willingly went to Deirdre to find out). I thought he spent too much of his time regretting this. Mistakes are made (with varying degrees), you learn, and move on!
I enjoyed seeing the other couples from the previous 6 books; Cara and Lucan, Lavena and Fallon, Marcail and Quinn, Isla and Hayden, Reaghan and Galen, and Sonya and Broc. Marcail and Quinn's son, Aidan makes an appearance. Likewise Ramsay, Camdyn, Arran, and Ian (wow all time-traveled too). Ian is the only one missing, but is in present day. And his story is next! In additon to Deirdre, there is a new badie, Declan. While Deirdre is an evil bitch, that I hated from the first series (just die already!), I think Declan might be a bigger threat. Deirdre's world-view is small and she has only a few focuses and many blind spots, Declan does not. Should be interesting.
I did like the time-travel element, bringing these old-fashioned Highlanders to the modern era. I also liked the little twist with Gwynn's father. Will see if Saffron, a Druid that Declan held prisoner gets her story. Malcolm too. He could still be redeemed. It's a maybe.


Booklikes Bingo:  Spellbound square.

Wicked Weaves

Wicked Weaves - Jim Lavene, Joyce Lavene

Being set at a renaissance fair, this set itself apart from a lot of the other mysteries. Jessie being the name of the main character and I was all set! (Jessie is my youngest sister's name). 
This ended up being disappointing. I really didn't like Jessie and found her to be judgmental and immature. She was "thirty-something" (if my memory is right, she is 32) and an assistant professor, but acted much younger. I couldn't imagine her teaching! The first part of the book was the worst; what came out of her mouth wasn't very thought out or empathetic. It did get better (or I got used to it) as the book went on. This quote sums it up nicely: "I was taking some serious grief over this whole thing, and I wasn't sure why. I'd done all I could to help Mary. It seemed to me she could be a little grateful."
The main male character had an eye-rolling name. Chase Manhattan. "My parents were into banking. You know how it is." Yeah, actually I don't and don't want to. The romance in this was just okay. Again, for people in their thirties I expected more assertiveness. 
I doubt I will read this rest.

Halloween Bingo:  Creepy Carnivals square 

Girl in Disguise

Girl in Disguise - Greer Macallister

I picked this up because it interested me. A book about the first female Pinkerton detective? A woman that not much is known? (Although much more would have been known had the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 not happened).
I loved this book. Yes, it's based on a real life person. And yes, it's a work of fiction. But, I think the author did the real Kate Warne justice. It showed what a woman had to go through to be able to prove herself, support herself. I found this book uplifting, interesting, and fascinating. What kept this from getting a full-on 5, but I thought too much was packed in the pages. Maybe this would have worked out better had it been 2 or 3 books? I found myself wanting more!
And I will say this- this is what I needed in this day and age of Trump, Kavanaugh, and all that bullshit. A book about a strong, intelligent, and unconventional woman. I'm hoping to enjoy my next read as much as I enjoyed this one. Cheers!

Booklikes Bingo: Terrifying Women

Halloween Bingo Update the Second


First Bingo!  On the diagonal.

Called AND Read:

Relics and Curiosities:  Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews 9/10

Cozy Mystery: Truly Madly by Heather Webber 9/16

New Release: I Am Justice by Diana Munoz Stewart 9/18

Diverse Voices: Black Lace by Beverly Jenkins 9/26

Southern Gothic: Dark Cries of Gray Oaks by Lee Karr 9/15

Modern Masters of Horror: Dead Spots by Rhiannon Frater 9/22

Ghost Stories:  The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens 9/29 

Murder Most Foul: Lowcountry Boil by Susan Boyer  10/1

Free Space:  Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk 10/4

Supernatural: Possessing the Witch by Elle James 10/3

13: She Hulk by Marta Acosta 10/7


Read, not called:



Currently reading (called):

Terrifying Women: A Girl in Disguise by Greer MacAllister



Called and not read:


Creepy Carnivals: Wicked Weaves by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Genre: Suspense: 

Cryptozoologist: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Shifters: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Doomsday:  Married With Zombies by Jesse Peterson



Genre: Horror: Dreadful Skin by Cherie Priest

Spellbound:  A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper

Baker Street Irregulars: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Terror in a Small Town: 

Dead Lands: Once Bitten, Twice Burned by Cynthia Eden

Fear the Drowning Deep: Tsunami Blue by Gayle Ann Williams

Country House Mystery: Ghost of a Chance by Katie MacAllister

Darkest London: Firelight by Kristin Callihan




The She-Hulk Diaries

The She-Hulk Diaries - Marta Acosta

I'm generally not a reader of comics, but I do enjoy the Marvel and DC properties on the big and small screen.  So, I was interested in this one even though Bruce Banner/the Hulk is a character I'm fairly ambivalent about.  This book is about his cousin, Jennifer Walters.

Jen is good at her job, but also has self-esteem and some anger issues in regards to her alter ego She-Hulk.  At the beginning she was a bit hard to like for me; she was (IMO) shallow, immature.  Her best friend Dahlia was also.  By the end, she was a little better. 

I didn't like the big focus on getting a boyfriend.  There is a bit of a love triangle with Sven and Ellis.  I didn't like that Ellis was engaged to Amber.  Amber, was also a BITCH (because of course she has to be, right?).  

Didn't care for the fashion show fat shaming.  Interesting story-line regarding ReplaceMax with cloned organs.  Just not enough for me and ended up a little disappointed.  

This fits in very well with the "New Adult" genre.  But based on a comic superhero/sci-fi/supernatural elements.  Thus far, I've noted there are very few NA books I've actually liked.  As a result, I generally avoid them.

Booklikes Bingo:  13 square (this book was published in 2013 and it was 13 in the ISBN #!)

Magic to the Bone

Magic to the Bone - Devon Monk

In this world anyone can use magic. Magic was "discovered." However, magic comes with a price that user must pay. And, of course, people being assholes, could choose to not pay the price and "Offload" it someone else. That's where Allie comes in. She is a Hound and finds those that abuse magic.
So, yes! I was excited. This was different! I liked the writing and world building. It was interesting. However, I had Issues with Allie. I thought she was immature, lacked common sense, and was a little TSTL. She couldn't hold on to money to save her life. At the beginning, Allie is Hounding a hit on Boy. The magic signature (magic leaves a traceable signature) points at her father. Allie goes and confronts her father. He denies it and she does a truth spell (also supposed to be infallible) that shows he is telling the truth. Then something happens to her father and Allie is blamed for it. She knows she didn't do it. So, does she question the Hounding result from earlier. Nope. Still believes dear old dad is responsible.
I'm not sure how I feel about magic's effect on Allie either. She gets sick/has pain and also memory loss. She loses random, important memories. One one hand, it's both a different and convenient plot point, and the other hand I thought it was sad. She quotes earlier in the book: "Sometimes I felt like a ghost in my own life."
Zayvion is a mystery. I liked Nola, Cody, and Kitten.
I'm probably not going to read anymore in this series. Allie was an exercise in frustration and also sadness.
Booklikes Halloween Bingo: Free Space!

Possessing the Witch

Possessing the Witch - Elle James

Excellent start from the point of Amanda, the victim. This is the first book I've read in this series, and luckily it stands on it's own. I enjoyed the sisters. I liked the idea of a group of people living in the tunnels under the city- by choice because of they way they were born or by circumstance.
Good heroine that saves the hero. It was nice she didn't need saving. The romance (and sex) is quick to happen, but I thought it worked.
The villain wasn't special and you can guess easily who it is. I'm surprised this person had gotten away with it so long, but then when

it's your brother, someone you trust, blinders come into play.

(show spoiler)

Lets see if I get this right- Selene gift of spirit, Brigid- fire, Deme- Earth, Aurai- Wind/weather, and Gina- Water. I'd be interested in other books featuring the Chattox sisters.

I'm using this for the Supernatural square

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil - Susan M. Boyer
This was entertaining. I enjoyed the mystery- there was more than one thing going on and as such more than one mystery! I knew where one was going, but not the other!
I thought most of the characters were likable. Liz was stupid a time or 2 (leaving her purse, keys, gun behind), but hey I understood the rush. I did like adding Colleen to the mix; I love the paranormal, but there really wasn't an explanation why Liz (and only Liz). I would have liked more on Nate. I did like Liz telling Michael no. However, the makings (please no) are there for a love triangle. Michael is a spineless idiot and I absolutely do not want him with Liz!
I think the thing I enjoyed most was the sibling interactions. I also wasn't sure how much Deanna really knew, or if she was an innocent as she seemed.
One thing that really bothered me was I felt at the end Marci (the Schemer) was being forced into a
(show spoiler)
she didn't want. (She was one of the most unsympathetic, unlikable characters, but I disliked that plot point).

Booklikes Bingo: Murder Most Foul


The Kingdom

The Kingdom - Amanda Stevens

Wow! So, this book answer the of the questions from The Restorer. Amelia's parentage is answered. This focuses much less on cemetery restoration and more on this creepy, small town. No one likes to talk. There is also a secondary story-line with Ivy. I'm not sure if I would have nixed that or given her more depth. I did like this one a bit better then the first book. 
I did find it annoying Amelia's brooding over Devlin. While he wasn't on the page, he was still very present. I thought Thane could have been a new love interest, but I can't say more other than you get a definitive answer in that possibility!
I can make assumptions about the "Evil." Thus far, no concrete answers were given in regards to let. Like what makes the area vulnerable? What is it exactly? I liked Amelia's new side kick Angus. And on that note, Thane found (I assume) the dog fighting ring. But shortly after, Amelia noted Hugh's face was beat up too. So, did Hugh help Thane? Or was Hugh behind the dog fighting? No answer (that I remember) was given. 
I also wound't label this romance; it's categorized as paranormal romance. I consider this series to be more in line with urban fantasy. The romance takes a back seat. It's more about Amelia, her world, her job, her abilities, and (yes) finding herself and what she is capable off.
Booklikes Bingo: Ghost Stories square.

Major spoilers behind page break

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Black Lace

Black Lace - Beverly Jenkins

Lacy recently moved to Detroit from Atlanta. She is an activist and is focused on cleaning up the environment. She's been married and divorced. 
Drake is a doctor and now mayor of Detroit. Drake is also very attractive. Both are intelligent, driven people with the goal of making things better for the average person.
While I liked both main characters, I hated the "Big Bad" and his henchman, just as I was supposed to. They were awful people. 
I was disappointed with the suspense, I don't think this was suspenseful at all. Suspense-wise, the last quarter was where all the suspense was. A positive- Lacy was not kidnapped nor did she need to be rescued! 

Halloween Bingo (Booklikes) Diverse Voices

Excuse me?!

"What boy hasn't done this in high school?"


Very sad, pathetic, and it pisses me off.  Again.

Dead Spots

Dead Spots - Rhiannon Frater

Dead Spots= places that are abandoned, but were inhabited, important, and/or loved back in their heyday. A Dead Spot can be manipulated.
Book opens with Mackenzie happily marries to Tanner and 8 months pregnant with their son, Joshua. She loses the baby. My heart broke for her as she grieves and no one really understood her grief. Tanner leaves her. She loses her job. She come to the realization that their friends were really Tanner's friends. Her best friend lives across the country.
Fast forward 6 months later and Mackenzie is freshly divorced and on her way to her mom's. Her mom happens to have OCD, but not not is spend on her mental disorder. What did come across, was her mother was a judgmental bitch. Mackenzie almost hits a deer and stops to explore an bandoned cafe and accidentally gets trapped in a Dead Spot. 
What follows is a nightmare world, fears are given free reign. Nothing and no one is as they seem or first appear. Maybe they are trustworthy.....or not.
Mackenzie was frustrating at first. She did, eventually, morph into someone who kicked ass and took names, but it took the whole book to get there. I did like that there really isn't any romance in this one- it was fitting for the character and setting. Lust yes. Love no. I did like this, I was invested.
I would have liked more at the end. It was a little too abrupt. A little more would have been nice. 

Halloween Bingo:  Modern Masters of Horror

Spoilers behind page break.

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Ante Up

Ante Up: A Sin City Collectors Novella - Amanda  Carlson

For the length, this was well paced. I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I kinda remember the first book, Diesel and Sofia were secondary characters who got their story in this one. This was quick and entertaining. Ginger and Luke are next!

I Am Justice

I Am Justice - Diana Munoz Stewart

I picked this for the cover. I liked it. Justice is an assassin. She is part of a family (all adopted children rescued from various situations) that is rich and has influence. Oh, and they take down human traffickers. Permanently. Sandesh is an ex soldier who runs a humanitarian group (all ex soldiers). Sandesh's group needs money and contracts with Parish Industries (Justice's family).
Based on the description, I shouldn't have been surprised at how dark this went. But I was. I also didn't like how fast Justice and Sandesh's relationship progressed. A slow burn would have worked better IMO because of Justice's background and dislike of most men. I could have done without Walid's (the bad guy) POV. I did like getting Justice's and Sandesh's.
While Justice is kick ass, I thought she had many stupid moments. Like being told to wait and not doing that. She didn't grow on me as the book progressed. I did like the end with Sandesh's question and what he gave her; it showed thoughtfulness and caring. On the other side, the end was a bit abrupt I thought.
When it's all said and done, this was okay and I doubt I will pick up the next one about Grace (which is supposed to be out and it isn't).

For Booklikes Halloween Bingo I read this for the New Release square (came out May 2018).

Truly, Madly

Truly, Madly - Heather Webber

This was just what I wanted to read. A light, paranormal mystery with a side of romance thrown in! See, Lucy is a Valentine and the Valentines have this ability/gift to see auras and match people together. There is also a curse; Cupid's Curse, that follows them around that prevents a Valentine from having everlasting love. When Lucy was 14 she was shocked and lost her ability to see auras. She developed a brand new gift: the ability to find lost objects. However this made her question her identity, her worthiness, and threw her into a tailspin.
Lucy finally found herself in this book. Her parents, Oscar and Judith, have a very unconventional relationship that works for them. I really liked all the characters. This book was funny, fun, and serious. I really enjoyed the mix of paranormal, mystery, and romance. I thought the mystery was a really good one.
Lucy is a very likable character. The same for Sean and Lucy's family and group of friends. I liked that she gave up her trust fund and put herself through college. It was even better when she started to see her gift as something that was unique and beneficial. I look forward to seeing where she can go and who can be helped!
I do think the curse isn't a Curse so much as a self-fulfilling one.
For Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2018, this is my cozy mystery pick.

Dark Cries of Gray Oaks

Dark Cries of Gray Oaks - Lee Karr

I remember when I was a teen enjoying these Zebra Gothics. So when I found this one, I think it was at a thrift store, I bought it! Either I've changed, or this one was a dud (or it's both those things).
I didn't find this that suspenseful. Both Brianna and Gavin annoyed me. Brianna was too stubborn at times. Gavin was too bossy, authoritative. I had to scratch my head at their declaration of love. Huh? They really didn't talk or interact much. When they did, Gavin was condescending (IMO) towards Brianna. I really didn't learn much about either character. I could tell you Gavin was a doctor and Brianna a dedicated daughter to her father. But that's it. This was very superficial. I also didn't like that Gavin (supposedly) is engaged to Lynette and pursues Brianna.
This mentioned the different hotel dining rooms- 1 for guests, and 2 for the workers- 1 for white, 1 for colored. And that was it. Nothing else. 
Oh, and mental illness can be cured if someone cares enough for you.

And the title.  Gray Oaks is the sanitarium up north (Pennsylvania if memory serves) where Cassie was.  This book doesn't take place there at all.  It takes place in St Augustine, FL.  So, ????? 
I'm using this for the Southern Gothic square for Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2018.

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