Rachel's books

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

 

 

The Mahjong scene explained

Crazy Rich Asians: Mahjong scene explained

 

One of my favorite scenes (and one of the most important IMO).  And it was not in the book (I forgot to mention that in my review).

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan
I really wanted to see this movie and decided to read the book first (and of course go see the movie!). So, this is safe to say a book review and a little bit of a movie review too. The rating is strictly for the BOOK.
The book:
Oh my, so many characters so much going on. It is not just about Nick and Rachel. Rachel's best friend Peik Lin. It's also about Astrid and her husband Michael. Astrid making a connection with someone from her past (Charlie). I thought there was just too much going on. Too many characters to keep track of. I wish the story has just focused on Nick and Rachel. Rachel's family history is also a lot more complicated.****more in the page break
It's an interesting look at location, wealth, culture. 
The movie:
I loved this and will be owning it when it is available to own. 
The movie did focus on Nick and Rachel, breaking down their trip to a period of a week or so as opposed to a whole summer. I just thought it flowed better. The HEA was also very clear. 
Ripped Bodice Bingo: Book That Is Now a Movie
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Wicked Intentions

Wicked Intentions - Elizabeth Hoyt

I liked that this was set in 1700s London (and not Regency). It was a nice change. Someone is killing prostitutes in St Giles. The first one killed (or at least the first one that had someone to "care" for them) happened to be the mistress of Lazarus, Lord Caire. He decides he needs to find out who her killer was. Temperance, along with her brother, are running a foundling home. They are struggling to get by, having lost their patron. Temperance agrees to guide Lord Caire through the slums of St Giles in search of a killer in return for being introduced to wealthy gentlemen in the hopes of finding another patron for the Home.
While I liked both characters and got into their story, there were a few things that stood out and/or irritated me. The first thing is much is made of Lord Caire's proclivities; tying and blindfolding women for sex. I kept thinking there was going to be more, had to be more- does he beat, slap, or otherwise hurt them? No. Just the first part. There was so much build-up of how "abnormal" his proclivities were and then nothing........ 
The second thing was Temperance. Or maybe the general attitude of the time (and fuck, even to an extent, extending to today) was the attitude towards women and sex (Silence's treatment fits in with this too). She is punishing herself working with brother, avoiding pleasures because she (wait for it....) slept with another man who wasn't her husband! She lives in St Giles, were the poorest of the poor live. She lives with and helps abandoned children. THAT is what bothers her?! THAT is the greatest sin? Really?
Luckily Lazarus accepts her for all that she is. She had enjoy herself with him and it's wonderful. And vice versa.
I liked all of the secondary characters. Temperance has an interesting family. Silence and William had a secondary story in this. The heroine of the next book is introduced in this one and I think she could be interesting!
This is the first in a series. It will be interesting to see who is the Ghost of St Giles? The mystery of who the murderer was is wrapped up in this one. (The who and the why). William is an asshole. They REALLY like the names Mary and Joseph. 

Ripped Bodice Bingo:  Carriage Sex!
This next part is for me and my memory, and has spoilers so is behind the page break.

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Nobody's Baby But Mine

Nobody's Baby but Mine  - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A friend lent me this book and I needed a book with a baby on the cover for Ripped Bodice Bingo. I'm using this shitty book for that square! And here's why I thought it was a shitty book: rant ahead. And maybe a little spoilery. And maybe a little cussing. You've been warned.

So, Jane. Jane is a GENIUS and DESPERATELY wants a baby. So does she do what a NORMAL person would do? Fuck no! Why would one use a sperm bank (don't cha know that medical students are notorious for sperm donation?!) when one could trick an unsuspecting guy instead?! Now, granted, she doesn't get pregnant the first time when she sabotaged a condom. No, that happens the second time when they have unprotected sex. But, see it's okay becomes she didn't enjoy herself. Amiright? 
The whole "I'm super smart and it was hard for me growing up, so I want a less intelligent baby! So, I'm going to pick a football player because they all lack intelligence!" just pissed me off. Judgmental much? She's such an idiot. 
On the other side, Cal. I really didn't like him either. "...why should he chose a desperate 30 year old..." Yeah, he is 36. Anyone over 24 is "too old." FUCK YOU ASSHOLE!! I thought he was mean, spiteful, ageist. Granted, he had every right to be pissed, but he took it too far.
I could not forgive (or forget) anything that they did.  Much less like them or even want these 2 toxic people to be together.  What she did was mortally and ethically wrong. 
The best parts of this book were Lynn, Annie, and Jim.
This just hit a lot of my hates. It definitely feels like I didn't read the same book that so many others read (and loved).
 
 

 

Feel the Heat

Feel The Heat (Rockford Fire Department Book 1) - Kathryn Shay

Francey (Francesca) is a firefighter (I know- a female firefighter!). Her grandpa, dad, and a brother are also firefighters. She and her crew get called out to a fire. She rescues Alex, who fell asleep at his desk. 
I like both both Francesca and Alex. Fran is a tomboy and is one of the guys. Alex sees her and is intrigued. It helps that she doesn't fawn all over him. They play at being friends and later have things they need to work out.
I liked the firefighting terms and learned a little. I thought it was realistic at how a busy, city fire department is, with the stress of the job, but also the stress it puts on the family. There is a strong secondary story-line here too with Fran's parents, Ben and Diana who divorced when she was 3. 
The fire that Alex is saved from; that was predictable and I had wondered, at first, if that would have been a suspense point. Hint- it's not. Anyway, I was right.
Points off for this: "But it was her eyes that snared him. They were huge, almost translucent and the oddest color, indigo fanning out to deep purple." This is NOT a paranormal! (Natural) purple eyes do not exist!

Ripped Bodice Bingo:  firefighters square!

Level Up

Level Up: A Geek Romance Rom Com - Cathy Yardley

Tessa is an introvert, geek, gamer, into Fandoms, and an engineer. Multiple mentions are made of her being a female in a male dominated industry (and I will say gaming too) and her being an introvert. The group she wants to join is all male and led by Abraham. Abraham is an asshole. To everyone. But, I could certainly see how she could take it personally. Jose, one of the members, hits on all who are female. I didn't like him either. (It mentioned the secretary, Stacy, who Jose asked out often, continued to tell him no. Ask once. If you get a no, that means no, and back off. Anything more, it is NOT cute! It IS harassment!). So, IMO, part of her lack of a promotion to the (game) engineering group could be because she's a woman, but also be because of her lack of interaction. With anyone.
Tessa and Adam are roommates, Tessa having moved in after Adam's long-time girlfriend broke up with him and moved to New York. I liked that Adam wasn't a player. He was close to his close-knit group of friends, but otherwise didn't socialize outside of that group. I thought he was honest and supportive of Tessa without being overbearing. They both "get" the other. I liked their relationship and could believe it.
For all the mentions of her being an introvert, she can stand up for herself and those she considers friends without any problems. She is not a doormat. I was pleasantly surprised. 
One thing that was jarring were the perspective changes or scene/time changes without a space between paragraphs. It happened so often, the movie in my head stopped and I had to read the sentence again, so the movie in my head could pick right back up.
I also liked that the location was somewhere I've been! My sister lives in Woodenville and we drive through Snoqualmie to get there. Highly recommend visiting Sqnoqualmie Falls. 
Looking forward to more! 
Characters (for me and my memory):
Tessa (Teresa): 
Ani- long time friend. Kyla, Stacy, Cressida, Rachel, Hailey. Hailey, Cressida, and Rachel are sisters and own the bookstore. Kyla works for her brother and is an costume designer (in her spare time). Cressida is agrphobic. Rachel and Hailey work at a casino. Rachel is going to college too. Mallory was also mentioned, but can't tell you anything about her.
Adam:
Abraham (lead and an asshole), Rodney, Jose (harasser of women), Fezza.
Ripped Bodice Bingo: tech in the city square

The Lotus Palace

The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin

This needs to be said first. A historical romance NOT set in England or during the Regency! And the main (and I should say all) characters are not white!
I enjoyed this one. A bit slow at times. I found the romance a very nice, slow burn. Yue-ying and her sister Ming-yu were sold as children into slavery. Ming-yu was beautiful, so she became a courtesan. Yue-ying has a red birthmark on her left cheek. This marked her as unlucky and people would stare at her. As a result, she was forced into prostitution. In this world, a courtesan is educated and her patrons are wealthy, well known. 
Ming-yu is able to find and buy Yue-ying. Yue-ying becomes her maidservant. At the beginning, I really didn't care for Ming-yu. I thought she was cold. IMO, she did a complete 180 and her coldness was a result of the events that were unfolding. 
Bai Huang was from an old, rich, well known and respected family. He made many bad mistakes and choices. Having conquered (mostly) and learned from his mistakes, he spies for his father, playing the idiot. He notices Yue-ying and very gradually empowers her to come out of her shell and speak her mind.
I don't think the mystery/murder was the strongest aspect of the story. What made this excellent IMO was the romance, acceptance, and trust between Yue-ling and Huang. I was also wondering how J.L. was going to pull off the HEA. Nice.
Looking forward to Ming-yu's story.
For Ripped Bodice Bingo: the pre-renaissance square!

Down With Love

Down With Love - Kate Meader

eARC courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept
Out Aug 7, 2018
Max's brother, James has a surprise for Max. He is getting married. Max was one engaged to a woman who only wanted his money. He also happened to be a divorce lawyer. As a result, he sees women 1 or 2 times and is ready to move on. Charlie is a wedding planner. Her last name (no pun intended) is Love. When Max and Charlie meet, there is instant lust.
I thought Max and Charlie worked well together, each realizing they had the other pegged incorrectly. I was fun reading about him falling in love. I do think, out of the both of them, Max was the more romantic. Max is definitely more of a cynic at the beginning. I thought Charlie was one too, even though she didn't admit it. It was interesting Max's take on how he helps his clients (mainly women) who are going through divorce. I thought his actions were noble. Both had obstacles they had to overcome as children.
Both Max and Charlie were relate-able and I could believe their story.
The other characters in this; Max and Charlie's parents (Susanne/Jack and Donna/Sully), Max's brother James (Gina), Max's law partners (Lucas/Grant), and Charlie's friends (Nathan/Penny) all added to the story. And only family/friends could get away with calling Max, Maxie. 
Mentions Max is getting in shape to run a Marathon and he will be running on behalf of Mercy Homes- who this person is was never explained. It didn't matter to overall plot, I was curious is all.

Loyal Wolf

Loyal Wolf (Alpha Force Book 6) - Linda O. Johnston

Kathlene is a deputy sheriff who suspects a group of men, who have moved in to her town, are in the process of doing illegal activities. No one listens to her (she's a woman, and this is a theme among the Sheriff- he doesn't like woman who have opinions). So, she calls in an outside party to help investigate- Alpha Force. Alpha Force happens to be an elite military group made up of shifters and plain old people. Jock is the shifter in the duo that meets at her town.
This wasn't bad, but it wasn't awesome either. It kept me entertained. I thought the wrap-up happened fast and would have liked more suspense (there isn't much). I was glad that Kathlene was smart and could more than hold her own against the sexist Sheriff.

SPOILER ALERT!

One Wedding, Two Brides

One Wedding, Two Brides - Heidi Betts

eARC courtesy of Entangled Publishing and NetGalley.
Published: 7/23/18
Let me start out by saying I requested this book because it sounded interesting with a different trope/plot-line than what I normally read. When I first started reading, I had some concerns and if the general "likability" of either Ryder or Monica would be enough to overcome what issues I had with it. While I thought Monica was TSTL at the beginning, I liked her at the end. She had some good business ideas and the talent to carry it out. Ryder, on the other hand, I thought was an asshole and made a little improvement, but not enough. The rest of this review is hidden behind the awesome page break. I can't talk about the issues I had with this book without giving anything away. 

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Emissary

Emissary - Marcella Burnard
I thought this was interesting. Short, the atmosphere/world building happens quickly. I was a little confused during this short novella due to that. This would have been better had it been longer and the world building more detailed. That said, Ahmeksut is an interesting character. She's kick-ass. I liked her companions; 2 lionesses Eburi and Sorqet.
 
 

 

The Striker's Chance

The Striker's Chance - Rebecca Crowley
Holly is a self-employed PR professional. Kepler de Klerk is the person she is tasked with improving the image of. Kepler was the driver in an auto-accident that severely injured him and a teammate. He's been out of action for more than a year. Because he was the driver, he was blamed and harshly criticized for the accident and his former team released him to Charlotte Discovery.
I thought this was sweet. Kepler is not quite the person the tabloids made him out to be. I was pleasantly surprised. I liked that the romance (and later the sex) was a slower build. 
For Ripped Bodice Bingo: Soccer square!
 
 

 

Five Things I Love About You

Five Things I Love About You - Sarah Ballance

Estelle is apartment sitting for her brother. She happens to be a landscape architect and despises the city. Crosby is part of a family owned business currently struggling. It seems most of the businesses use the chain HVAC companies. 
This was short, sweet. Crosby got on my nerves for his sense of responsibility- he is of the opinion since he is the oldest child (3 younger brothers), he has the one solely responsible for the family's business. Estelle had a few moments where she was struck dumb by Crosby's "hotness." *Eye roll* I did like the end where each came to their own decision independently without knowing what the other did.

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).

Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80%