Rachel's books

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



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New Ink on Life by Jennie Davids

ISBN: 9781335215796


Published May 28, 2019


Otherworld Secrets

Otherworld Secrets: An Anthology - Kelley Armstrong

Most of the stories in this I've already read. I got this for the 2 I haven't.
Life After Theft
It was nice to see a peak into what Hope (1/2 Chaos demon) and Karl (werewolf) were up to. They are happily married with a daughter and another child on the way. Karl is a retired thief who works for Hope's brother in security systems. (He was an excellent thief). Karl is framed and has to go back and steal one last thing to clear his name. I liked this couple from previous books and it was wonderful to see what was going on with them a few years after the series ended.

Zen and the Art of Vampirism
A short story featuring Zoe (I don't remember her from the series) and how she gets rid of 2 vampires who want to take over her territory.

Just One of the Groomsmen

Just One of the Groomsmen - Cindi Madsen

Addie has always been one of the guys. She is childhood friends with a group of 4 guys (Tucker, Shep, Easton, Ford). They went to college together and live in the same, small town. Tucker is the only one who moved away to be a lawyer for a firm in "the big city" (Birmingham). After a few years, he is back for good, having quit his job.
Shep announced he is getting married and they are all going to be groomsmen in his wedding. I enjoyed the dynamic of the 5 of them and how they all support each other. Addie excels at sports and can beat the best of them at poker. Her dream job is to be a sports therapist for one of the big AL college teams. She worked as a PT in a small office with a sexist asshole for a boss. I had mixed reactions at first- while her family is supportive, they also want her to be more of a girl (whatever). Addie also (IMO) looked down at women who were more feminine. I thought that dynamic got better as the book progressed.
Tucker's obsession with having a certain amount of cash in the bank came from his parent's divorce. However, he never really talked about it with Addie- so you know that was one of the barriers. There was a lot of dancing back and forth between going for it and holding back .
Overall, I really did like this. The small town where everyone knows your business and can be a bit judgey for it, can also be supportive when it's needed. I also really, really liked Lexi, Shep's intended. She easily could have been a bitch, but wasn't and became a close friend to Addie.
I read this for Romance-opoly Spring square Sun track

The Corset Diaries

The Corset Diaries - Katie MacAlister

Tessa is a plus sized American who goes on an English TV show. The show is designed to show how people (a Duke and his family and their servants) lives in the Victorian times. Tessa got the job because she was a distant relation to an American who married an English Duke. Max, who plays the Duke, is also a distant relation of the Duke who married the heiress.
Tessa's 1st person narration was laugh out loud funny. But (yeah you knew there was a but!), she was very self-conscious about the size of her body (she is 6ft and a size 18). When it came to Max, I liked the he was attracted to her just as she was. I also liked she was a little older than him (39 to 34). But, the 5 year gap mattered more to Tessa than it did to him. Which was very annoying considering Tessa's husband was 20 years older than her (who died from cancer 3 years prior).
This was a fun, escapist read.
I read this for Romance-opoly Spring square Moon track


High Octane: Ignited - Ashlinn Craven, Rachel Cross

Right off the bat I didn't really get Cassidy and Ronan's attraction/chemistry. Cassidy was a self-medicating mess who drank too much. It's an issue that was pointed out on just about every page. Cassidy was a helicopter pilot and something she did killed a member of her crew (it was an accident). She does eventually get therapy; but it took the whole book. I did enjoy Formula One racing as a backdrop.
Most likely will not be reading the next since I didn't particularly care for Maddux and the synopsis doesn't grab me.

A Rogue by Any Other Name

A Rogue by Any Other Name - Sarah MacLean

Bourne is part owner of an exclusive gaming club. 10 years prior he lost everything in a game of cards to someone he trusted; his guardian. Since then, he's rebuilt himself and is after his lands. He will gt his lands back at any cost. Revenge is what he lives for. Michael is not a nice person anymore.
Penelope was engaged to a Duke who fell in love with someone else. This being the world in which we live, it was (of course) all her fault. As a result, 2 of her sisters took hasty marriages. Her 2 remaining sisters are on the marriage-mart. For her sisters to marry well, it's on Penelope to make a good match. Penelope grew up with Michael and has always loved him.
Overall this was a nice friends to enemies to lovers romance. I really liked Penelope and her growth throughout the book. It took the whole for me to like Michael. I didn't like his treatment of Penelope. And in the end, there really wasn't any groveling on his part. I did like the end with the revelation regarding Langford and the teaser for the next book. I did like Pippa (didn't care for Penelope's other sister Olivia- she's a bit selfish).
I read this for Romance-opoly The Cobbles sun track.

Destiny's Embrace

Destiny's Embrace - Beverly Jenkins

Mariah was abused by her mom. Her mom was a seamstress and Mariah learned how to do so too. In addition, she draws designs that her mom would sell and pass on as her own. After being hit (again), she decides enough is enough and leaves. With the help of her aunt Libby, she answers an ad for a housekeeper in CA.
Logan is a rancher and shares property with his (step)mom. He also doesn't want to marry and likes his life just so. His house is also a pigsty (in both looks and smell). It also doubles as the tack shed (since the last one burned).
Needless to say, there is friction between Logan and Mariah. Mariah blossoms and becomes someone who speaks her mind and doesn't put up with bullshit. It was glorious! I liked how Logan eventually changed and re-evaluated his life and what he wanted. I enjoyed Alanza and liked her forward thinking. I'm hoping something happened with Max. I also liked his brothers Drew (Andrew Antonio)-a lawyer (and womanizer) and Noah (a sailor) even if they were not on the page. My only compliant would be the ending felt rushed; I wanted more. The ending also opens what (I assume- I haven't read the synopsis for book 2 yet) the plot for the next brother's story will be.
There is also some of CA history and a recommended reading list for more info.
I read this for Romance-opoly The Cobbles moon track


Undercover - Lauren Dane

Sera is an unranked woman who worked her way up to lieutenant in the Federation Corps. 10 years ago, she was in love with Ash. She chose to leave after Ash got married. Ash had tried to make her his mistress. She is the one who got away (and vice versa). Ash is now divorced and the leader of a undercover unit with Brandt. He selects Sera based on her talent with languages. Someone (or someones) in the Families are selling secrets to the Imperialists.
Both Ash and Brandt are sons of powerful Families. I thought the world was interesting. There was some world-building and would have liked more. There's multiple different planets, Families that are the leaders. It's all inherited, you can't work your way into a leadership position. Families look down on the unranked. It's all very patriarchal too. For this being the future, women were not in places of power- they were wives and mistresses. A guy could have a wife and an official mistress (or more); and it was all okay. In terms of the ranking, it was very old-fashioned.
Overall, I did enjoy the story and the sex scenes were well written (a few less and more world building would have been nice). Sera, Ash, and Brandt were all likable. I loved how Ash and Brandt respected Sera for who she was. It was refreshing that they weren't jealous of the other when it came to being with Sera. The lack of general ass-holeyness was nice too.
This is part of a series, but should stand on it's own. The baddies are found out.
I read this for Romance-opoly Passion Place moon track

Caine's Reckoning

Caine's Reckoning - Sarah McCarty

I will put up with a bad book if it's for a challenge and I didn't know what else to read for the category.  

Caine is a Texas Ranger and a member of Hell's Eight.  Desi is the woman he rescues and marries.  Desi was repeatedly a victim of trauma and sexual assault.  Does she get time and space to work out her trauma?  Yeah, nope.  This has the trope of the magic penis that heals.  Don't like to be touched?  Well, let's get it on!  It's not romantic, it's abusive.

Then there was the bad guys.  That's it really?  It was too easy.  And it's not helped that there was still the mystery sadistic evil guy that had no name that didn't get his.  He is still free.  And the whole issue of the who/why of Desi and her twin sister Ari (who is not in this book and is alive/dead (who knows!) and suffered/is suffering the same fate that Desi did) kidnapping.  For the length of the book, it left a lot of unanswered questions.  But you know what?  I don't really care and would very much like to burn this trash.  I won't be reading any more of this series.

It's sad that the best thing about this book was Boone, the loyal dog, and Cantankerous, a randy rooster. 

I read this for the Romance-opoly Passion Place sun track square  

Hurts to Love You

Hurts to Love You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

This wraps up the trilogy. Nicholas's sister, Evangeline gets her story. I liked reading about her and her ability to grow as the book progressed. I liked Gabe from the previous books and liked them together. Since this wrapped everything up- Nicholas and Livvy are getting married, there are secrets that come out, it was nice the see how everything wrapped up. And I loved the epilogue to see where everyone was a year later.
And Eve's paternity wasn't in question.

Gabe's dad was Robert, he had had a one night stand prior to meeting Tani. Maria and Robert were not having an affair. Maria was leaving Brendan. Livvy's pregnant. She has a girl.

(show spoiler)

I read this for Romance-opoly The Bar moon track

Animal Attraction

Animal Attraction - Jill Shalvis

Jade has something bad happen and she ran to small town Sunshine, ID.  She found a job and made a life very slowly letting people in.  Expect she's not planning on staying, because her family expects her back.  Dell's got relationship problems with women due to his history as a child.  He doesn't do them.  

I enjoy JS writing, humor.  Both Jade and Dell are likable even if this did drag in a few places.  Both are adults and have difficulty admitting to themselves what they want.  Jade has always done things to make her family happy and what they want.  It was only after running to Sunshine that she did things for herself and it took the whole book for her to admit to her family what she wanted.  The upside was her family loved her and wanted the best for her.  Dell had issues with his birth mother and had a relationship/non-relationship with her in them one.  I would have liked for that to be explored more.  The strength in this one are the supporting characters.  Dell's brothers Brady and Adam and friend Lilah are all in this and I enjoyed their banter.

The only problem I have with JS, and I've pointed this out before, is her use of "like a girl."  I hate that phrase and she uses at least once in most (all?) of her books.  (Think "fight like a girl"  or "cry like a girl.")  I do like her writing style, it's easy and humorous, and I know what I'm getting.  

I read this for romance-opoly The Bar sun track

Little Women

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott, Elaine Showalter,  Vinca Showalter, Siobhan Kilfeather

I can't really say anything that hasn't been said already. I do have a confession- this is the first time I've read Little Women. Sure, I've seen multiple adaptations. Greta Gerwig's version that recently came out made me realize I had never read the book. When Romance-opoly called for a YA book considered a classic I knew I had to read this one. I thought it was interesting reading what scenes didn't make it to the various adaptations. It's interesting to see what each version chooses to highlight from the source material. Recommended.
I read this Romance-opoly Beau Boulevard moon track

The Hallowed Ones

The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle

Amish and vampires? Interesting.
Something is happening in the Outside world. Not having TV, radio, cell phone, etc, Katie and her community have absolutely no idea of what is going on. They know something is happening since a helicopter crashes in one of their fields....and no one comes to investigate.
I did start out liking this. But then something happened and I just got annoyed. While I don't think this was preachy, I got tired about reading about "God's will," and the "Outside," and the "Plain" folk. I was horrified at the Bishop's initial decision about Alex until Katie stepped in.

He was going to shot him.

(show spoiler)

Alex was unconscious. Katie is very likable and resilient. Alex's background was helpful, but I was annoyed that he kept calling Katie "Bonnet." This also showed (IMO) that no matter the religion or the belief that one is more pious, better, etc the more power and absolute trust an individual(s) is granted, the greater likelihood of corruption. There is no questioning or dissent in Katie's community. It's not allowed.
I read this for Romance-opoly Beau Boulevard sun track.

Silent Threat

Silent Threat (Mission Recovery) - Dana Marton

I felt like this had 2 stories going on at first. There was someone who was sending military intel overseas and a stalker who was escalating. I did like the attention paid to (alternative) therapies in connection with the more traditional therapies. Cole was dealing with disability and PTSD. Annie had her own issues dealing with an abusive stepfather, indifferent mother, and a grandfather who I thought was verbally abusive to her. Both characters are likable. I would have liked this better with 1 focus- either the traitor selling intel (and the way intel was taken was interesting and could have been elaborated on) or the stalker. Even though

it was the same person.

(show spoiler)

I read this for Romance-opoly The Gym moon track


Feed - Mira Grant

This was interesting. It was a lot to unpack and once I got into it this was interesting. Set in the future after a major virus outbreak. I thought the concept is interesting- everyone has the Kellis-Amberlee virus and it becomes activated when one dies, gets bitten, or spontaneously converts. The virus is helpful in that it kills the cancer cells and other things. The problem is, once activated, people become zombies and require a head shot to die a 2nd time. Animals over 40# also are infected and the same things apply. I can't imagine a future where most don't have pets.
In this future, news is disseminated through bloggers. George (Georgia) is a Newsie (news and truth), her brother Shaun is an Irwin (likes danger), Buffy is a Fictional (stories). There are also Stewarts, Aunties). Together they run a blog/news site that gets chosen to follow the presidential campaign of Peter Ryman whose formative years were shaped by the outbreak.
I liked the writing, the characters, and the general story-line. There's a betrayal by someone close, trusted, and considered a friend. There's a conspiracy, murder. A major character dies in this. I do think this has a good solid end and was on the fence about reading the next. I did read some reviews regarding book 2 and certain things happen that I'm not crazy about, so the train stops at this one. I do recommend for those that like zombie stories.
I read this for Romance-opoly The Gym sun track

Melt for You

Melt For You - J.T. Geissinger

Overall this was an entertaining enemies to friends to lovers romance. Joellen is a copy editor at a publishing house with dreams to advance. She's been secretly in love with her boss for years. Cameron is a famous rugby player and traded apartments for the Christmas season with a family member. (I've late at writing this and don't remember the relationship- I think it was a cousin). The apartment is across the hall from Joellen's.
Both characters are like-able, but Joellen's negativity related to anything about herself got old so fast. When her confidence grew and she finally stood up for herself, it was a beautiful moment. But, it took forever to get there. Her relationship with Cameron took awhile to develop and even longer for her to realize the depth of her feelings.
Michael was an asshole.

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Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80% Romanceopoly 2019 Participant