Rachel's books

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

 

 

Stone Cold Texas Ranger

Stone Cold Texas Ranger (Harlequin Intrigue) - Nicole Helm

Natalie's sister has been missing for 8 yrs. She spent all that time looking for clues and working her way into the Texas Rangers as a hypnotist. She assists with suspect interviews. After a suspect is murdered and her house burned she goes into hiding with one of the Rangers who doesn't like her.
The forced proximity and enemies to lovers was decently done. This one had some nice action/suspense scenes.

I read this for Romance-opoly Soldier Street moon track

Hot Combat

Hot Combat (Ballistic Cowboys) - Elle James

This had one of the tropes I really don't like and stay away from (secret baby- you can easily guess). However, in this book, it didn't bother and piss me off like it usually does. Charlie's motivations and secrecy made sense to me. She still took away a choice from Jon, but I still liked her. The plot line was relevant to today (right wing anti government sentiment and using arms to make the displeasure known and it was based in the West- which is something that has happened in this general area- see the Bundys and the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge).
There were a few things that didn't make sense to me/just made me roll my eyes. One of suspects spouses was interviewed and she said something about how she doesn't know how to use their computer and they took her at her word (I got the impression that because she was an older woman she wouldn't know computers). Another one was how 30 yr olds having mad internet/computer skills because (you know) they grew up with it.
I did like this one. The main characters was interesting and likable.
I read this for Romance-opoly Soldier Street sun track

Heart of the Wolf

Heart of the Wolf - Terry Spear

Bella was taken in by the gray pack when her family was killed. She flees the gray pack after their alpha, Volan, tries to force her to mate with him. Bella has lived on her own for 150+ years when this story picks up.
I thought the zoo thing was funny and unique. The whole gray/red wolf differences/hierarchy. Those are the things I liked about this book. You've got an asshole (Volan) trying to force himself on someone who doesn't want it (but it's the wolf's way!). You've got a woman (Bella) who has remained chaste and a virgin for her "one true mate" for 150+ years. The "one true mate" (Devlyn) who hasn't. The whole, "I want you, but I can't!" trope.
Thanks for the remainder- "good" woman don't have sex for pleasure/because they want to and the moment is right/etc with anyone but the "one." The guy? Free pass!
I read reviews for #2 and it sounds like completely new characters. So maybe I'll give this series another chance....maybe.
I read this for Romance-opoly Fated Folly sun track

Pack Enforcer (this is the new title for the reissue)

Enforcer  - Lauren Dane

Full disclosure:The "fated mate" trope is not my favorite. It can be done in a way that doesn't irritate me and in a way I like. This is not that book.
What not to do:
1. Not tell the full truth. Nina consented to sex. That's it. Not a mating bond. Lex knew what was going to happen and deliberately didn't tell her the full story. That should not be okay. It's not sexy, it's disgusting.
2. Make the women (and only the women) go crazy with the mating bond. But wait! They don't have to go cray-cray! Sex with a 2nd man (tri-bond) with fix it! That sounds *super sexy*!
3. Sacrifice the plot. It was an interesting one. Someone in the Pack has gone Rogue and is stealing and killing. Backstabbing! Treachery! But......let's not focus on the that. It's about the sexy times.

And the 3rd partner with Nina and Lex? Lex's brother Cade!

(show spoiler)

And I need to bleach my eyeballs.
I read this for Romance-opoly Fated Folly moon track.

A Big Surprise for Valentine's Day

A Big Surprise for Valentine's Day - Jackie Lau

The last book in this series about Amber the youngest Wong sibling. Amber has a history of dating assholes so she is on a no boyfriend kick. Sebastian is back in town to open his own practice. They met in a grocery store.
I could believe their romance. I think it helped they knew each other growing up (Sebastian was friends with Zach). I liked it when Sebastian stood up to his parents.

I Am Princess X

I Am Princess X - Cherie Priest, Kali Ciesemier

Libby and May met when they were in the 5th grade and became fast friends. Together they created a comic called "I am Princess X." After Libby is killed in an auto accident, May gives up on the comic and Princess X is no more.
Fast forward about 3 years and May is now 16/17 and she notices Princess X everywhere (a sticker on a window, graffiti). Does this mean Libby is alive? Turns out there was more to the accident. And there are clues everywhere May looks. She enlists a boy in her building (who believes himself to be a computer hacker).
I did like the mix between traditional story/comic-graphic novel. I recognize May's a teen, but there were some things I thought she did/said/should have picked up on (like thinking her computer doesn't work- when it just needed to be plugged in to charge, really?!). This was a decent mystery and a good cast of characters. There was no romance in this one. Very much about friendships.
I read this for Romance-opoly Post Office moon track

The Undateable

The Undateable - Sarah Title

Bernie is a librarian. She was photographed one day making a face during a marriage proposal (one of her student workers). This became a meme- "Disappointing Librarian." Enter Colin, a staff writer for an online fashion magazine. Through the magazine, she is offered a make-over and 30 dates in 30 days to prove she is not undateable.
I really enjoyed this. I liked both Bernie and Colin. I liked Bernie's feminist voice and how she called out certain things. I thought she grew throughout the book and did certain things/adapted things because she realized she liked it. I also liked how some of Colin's viewpoints changed once he got to know Bernie. This was a bit of enemies to friends to lovers. Their transition to each was gradual.
I read this for Romance-opoly Post Office square sun track

A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year

A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year - Jackie Lau

This was a short and sweet story about a friends to lovers romance. Both Jo and Zach had previous serious relationships that didn't work out and each had their heart broken. They became friends over their shared misery/mourning. Fast forward a few years and Jo has a crush on Zach. It isn't until Zach needs a fake girlfriend to get his parents off his back that he begins to realize he has feelings too. (In the first book, the Wongs set each kid up with a date).
The Pictionary scene was hilarious and my fav part of the book.

Murder on Bamboo Lane

Murder on Bamboo Lane - Naomi Hirahara

Ellie is a LAPD bicycle cop with dreams of becoming a detective. Her aunt happens to be high up on the hierarchy at the LAPD. Her dad is quietly supportive, her mother didn't support her becoming a cop (like her aunt). She has a close group of friends (of which her newly ex-boyfriend is also a part). When a former classmate is murdered, Ellie is drawn into the investigation.
I really enjoyed this one and I liked Ellie's growth and her ability to note her mistakes (and learn from them). I also thought it was realistic to admire a relative, but then to see them in action up close they weren't as perfect as thought to be (and acknowledge that). I wish this was a longer series (only 2 books).
I read this for Romance-opoly Killer Crescent sun track square

Stillhouse Lake

Stillhouse Lake - Rachel Caine

Unbeknownst to Gina, her husband (Melvin/Mel) tortured and killed women right under her nose. He is now in jail. She was also accused of being an accomplice and was on trial and found not guilty at the end. That didn't stop her being being threatened online/in-person. So, she invented new identities for her herself and kids and when chapter 1 starts they are on the 8th (I think) new place to live/identity.
The prequel chapter hooked me and I had a really hard time putting this down. Gina is now Gwen and Lily & Brady are now Atlanta (Lanny) & Conner. I thought this did a good job at showing the negatives of the internet and how easy it was/is to threaten and harass anyone and anybody. I did have some frustration at Gwen in the beginning- I thought she was too overprotective/secretive to the point of smothering. Lanny and Conner at 14 and 11 I thought were old enough to be shown some of the threats to gain some perspective of what they were up against.
Gwen does gain some friendships that will continue to blossom if she stays. While there are answers here, there is a cliffhanger that sets up the next book.

She learns Melvin has escaped prison. Lancel (a cop) was the copycat and had correspondence with Melvin and the hacker. He also involved his 2 young boys (around 11 and 13)- unknown if they helped with the torture/murder of the 2 women.

(show spoiler)


I read this for romance-opoly Killer Crescent moon track square

No One Knows

No One Knows - J.T. Ellison

Husband disappears (Josh), Aubrey is arrested and ultimately released for lack of evidence. Fast forward 5 years, Aubrey's mother in law (Daisy) is moving to have Josh declared dead. He also has a 5 million life insurance policy.
Lots of going back and forth between present and past. Lots of narratives (Josh, Daisy, Chase, and the main one- Aubrey). Aubrey's got the tragic backstory (orphaned, foster care kid, poor). She lacked a backbone and continued to tolerate toxic people- her (foster) brother Tyler and MIL Daisy. Daisy hated Aubrey (and for no good reason except she didn't like Aubrey's mom when she was alive). Daisy was the stereotypical MIL, but dialed up to 100 (was that really necessary?). The whole "poor me" got on my nerves.
And just as I thought I know everything there was THAT TWIST. Really?! And then the epilogue. Geez Louise. I still have questions that really weren't answered (what was Megan's deal?)
(I thought this would fit a category for Romance-opoly, but sadly it doesn't).

Darling Beast

Darling Beast - Elizabeth Hoyt

Recently freed (escaped) from Bedlam, Apollo is working on restoring the garden's at Harte's Folly. The theater and gardens burned in the previous book (if memory is right). He is also living in one of the burned out areas. Lily is also living there since she is out of work and can't get a job as an actress in London (she was blacklisted by her former employer when she left to work exclusively at Harte's Folly. She writes plays for money and her brother (Edwin) sells them and they split the profits. Captain James Trevillion is working for Marcus as a bodyguard/helper for Phoebe. James is also the one who arrested Apollo.
This brings Apollo, James, Asa, and Valentine together to figure out who setup Apollo. Unsure of Valentine's motives, but in this one it appears he wants Apollo's architectural designs for the garden. He's an investor (as is Apollo). I liked that Lily was able to stand up to her brother.
Lily is AKA as Robin Goodfellow. Asa Makepeace is AKA Mr Harte, Valentine Napier the Duke of Montgomery is introduced. He collects information (for blackmail?)

Cousin George was the one who framed Apollo.

(show spoiler)

I read this for Romance-opoly Past Eaves moon track

Lord of Lies

Lord of Lies - Amy Sandas

This was better than the 2nd book. This completes the sister's stories. Book 1 was Emma's, 2 was Lily's, and this one was Portia's. I think to really understand the story-lines, books need to be read in order since they are all taking place at the same time.
Dell is the person Angelique and Portia hire to find Lily. Portia wants something more and realizes she is capable of sleuthing/disguise. This leads to Dell letting her assist in her investigation into finding Hale's daughter. I liked the romance between the 2 and thought they complemented each other very well.

Nathan Hale's daughter is found and she is attached to a boy that she wouldn't let go, so Nathan takes him in to. The boy is not given a name (not that I remember), but it definitely is relayed he has a story. And then nothing happens in regards to finding out who this boy is (it's mentioned his clothing is fine and it's suspected he is from the upper class). 

(show spoiler)

I read this for Romance-opoly Past Eaves Sun track

The Deal

The Deal - Elle Kennedy

I'm surprised by how much I liked this one.
Garrett is failing 1 class that should have been easy to pass. He plays on the hockey team and needs a min GPA to stay on it. Hannah is acing the class so he talks her into tutoring him by going on a date with her to make her crush interested.
This was a great enemies to lovers romance. I loved the banter back and forth. Both are dealing with traumas of their past and I thought that was dealt with in a realistic way. I liked the secondary characters too. The only thing that irked me was Garrett's father paying his tuition. Realistically, since he was good and was probably going to make it to the pros after graduation, I'm pretty sure he would have had a full ride scholarship to play college hockey. At the least tuition (which father paid) and probably room and board too (which he worked summer jobs to save up for to pay). So, the threat of withholding money by his dad felt manufactured.
For romance-opoly Campus Corner moon track

Elements of Chemistry: Attraction

Elements of Chemistry: ATTRACTION (Hypothesis Series Book 1) - Penny Reid

Martin is rich, smart, hot, athletic, and a bully. He has everything but a loving family. Kaitlyn is smart, socially awkward, shy, a product of a loving, but overachieving family. Martin happens to be her lab partner and she overhears something that could damage him. More on that later.
She tells him what she overheard. He invites her on vacation with him and his team. She admits to really liking him and they (of course) have great chemistry. Kaitlyn is *different* from all the other girls. This ends of a cliffhanger. Both Kaitlyn and Martin are likable and I enjoyed the writing style/banter. I probably would read more of their story, but the ebook is too overpriced (4.99) for the length and I didn't enjoy this *that* much to fork out that.
And on to my problem and it's NOT resolved in any satisfactorily way.

Kaitlyn overhears a guy and gal talking about drugging and raping Martin to blackmail him. Bonus points if a pregnancy occurs. The guy was bragging about drugging girls and then having sex with them. Kaitlyn hears him OPENLY admitting to drugging and rape. It turns out the guy is Ben, one of Martin's teammates. The gal is nameless. Does anything happen to Ben? Nope. Actually this quote sums it up perfectly: "Because he's strong and we, the boat, need him to win." Lovely, right? Good to know winning trumps everything else. Priorities bitch. 

(show spoiler)


Romance-opoly Campus Corner sun track

Dead Iron

Dead Iron - Devon Monk

Cedar was cursed as a werewolf. He is tasked with finding a missing little boy.
What sounded fairly simple, was a lot to unpack due to the multiple points of views this book had. There's (of course) Cedar, but add Mae (a witch), Rose, Jeb, The Madder Brothers (Alun, Bryn, Cadoc), Shard Lefel, Mr Shunt, you get the point. The world is an interesting one (old west, but with steam). I am happy to note the big bad gets his due, but someone else is still alive leaving a future plot line open for books 2 and 3 (I assume). (And not to forget the Holder).
Not really that interested in continuing.
For Romance-opoly Journey's End moon track

Currently reading

Allegiance of Honor (Psy/Changelings) by Nalini Singh
The Laird by Grace Burrowes
Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80% Romanceopoly 2019 Participant