advance copy

City on Edge by Stefanie Pintoff

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City on Edge by Stefanie Pintoff
Bantam: November 15, 2016
Genre: Thriller
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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City on Edge is the second book in the Eve Rossi thriller/mystery series. In the first book, Hostage Taker, readers are introduced to FBI agent, Eve Rossi and her rather dubious recruits, all of them ex-cons. After the successful events of the previous book, Eve and her team have been given some legitimacy, which comes in handy when New York’s police commissioner is almost assassinated and his daughter kidnapped. Eve and her unusual crew are on the case and hoping to find the commissioner’s daughter safe; however, they don’t count on the numerous hurdles in their path. (more…)

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

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Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Signet: November 8, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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I’m a huge fan of Mary Balogh and have loved her Survivors’ Club series. Naturally, once that series ended a new one had to begin. Someone to Love is the first in Balogh’s Wescott series featuring a family that finds itself neck deep in scandal when the head of the family dies and it is discovered that he had a secret wife and child, which makes his second marriage invalid and those children illegitimate. Miss Anna Snow is that illegitimate child, and discovering that she’s an heiress is almost like a dream came true. However, for Anna, what the bigger draw is the discovery that she has family: half-siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a grandmother. Of course, becoming part of that family is no simple task, especially when that family is shocked at her existence.

Aiding Anna is Avery Archer the debonair Duke of Netherby, who normally wouldn’t trouble himself to get involved. Avery is not really even part of the Westcott family as its his stepmother that is truly related. However, Avery finds himself part of Anna’s transformation process and surprisingly drawn to the plain, composed woman. Their romance is a surprising one, yet Balogh excels at demonstrating how these two characters compliment one another. (more…)

The Problematic, Yet Entertaining “A Promise of Fire”

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A Promise of Fire by Amanada Bouchet
Sourcebooks Casablanca: August 2, 2016
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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A Promise of Fire is one of those books that’s a bit tricky to review. On the one hand, it’s a bit of a problematic read considering that it’s a romance and the so-called hero kidnaps the heroine. On the other hand, I found it an entertaining read that I couldn’t peel my eyes away from. So keep in mind that you too may be frustrated by some character’s actions in A Promise of Fire but you will ultimately enjoy this one for being a breath of fresh air in the romance genre.

Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a psychic who works in a circus. Cat is also in hiding from the powerful Fisa family. Cat’s powers make her unique; she can sense when a person is lying, which makes her valuable as a political tool. Due to her ability to sense a lie (just one of many fantastical abilities) Cat is known as a Kingmaker. Since escaping the Fisa family Cat has successfully hidden her abilities and carved out a life for herself in the circus. Naturally, that life is not mean to be and Cat is kidnapped by the Sintan warlord Griffin who wants to use Cat’s ability to solidify his sister’s leadership after overthrowing the previous leaders of the Sinta and bringing in a non-magical leader. Enter magic and mayhem and things get complicated very quickly. (more…)

English Miss Meets “The Highlander”

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The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne
St. Martin’s Paperbacks: August 2, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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Kerrigan Byrne has become immensely popular due to her Victorian Rebels series; The Highwayman was a huge hit when it came out and I was seeing it everywhere I read about new books. While I had mixed feelings about the first book, I thought The Hunter was brilliant. If you’re a fan of romances that focus on folks with a darker past, there’s no question that you are reader that will enjoy all of the books in Byrne’s series and this latest is no different.

Colonel Liam MacKenzie is in need of a governess for his two children. After years away from home, Liam has returned home and is determined to do right by his family, something that he finds difficult considering the demons of his past. As a start, Liam hires a governess, Philomena, to get his daughter and son back on track. What Liam doesn’t count on is his mysterious governess and his desire to unravel her secrets. For her part, Mena is essentially in hiding. After being rescued from the “hospital” her husband put her in, Mena has been instructed to hide her true identity, which becomes difficult as she finds herself growing closer to Liam. (more…)

Ghostly Echoes

28110857Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Algonquin Young Reader: August 23, 2016
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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Ghostly Echoes is the third historical mystery featuring Abigail Rook and Mr. Jackaby, a private investigator with an unusual specialty of the unexplained.

Abigail is a transplant from England who fell into employment with the eccentric Jackaby and with this third book it’s clear that Abigail has embraced her investigations into the paranormal and has no intention of going back:

It seemed like only yesterday I had been back home in England, packing for my first term at university. Had someone told me that I would throw it all away and run off to America to commune with ghost and answer to ducks and help mad detectives solve impossible murders, I would have said they were either lying or insane. I would have sorted them on the same shelf in my mental library as those who believe in Ouija boards or sea serpents or honest politicians. That sort of foolishness was not for me. I adhered to facts and science; the impossible was for other people.

A lot can change in a few short months (p. 20).

Indeed they can. (more…)

Who’s the Winner in “The Hating Game”

27213238The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
William Morrow: August 9, 2016
Genre: Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Outstanding Adventure!
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The Hating Game is an absolutely delightful contemporary romance, which is an unusual pick for me, but one I do not regret since it is one of the best contemporary romance novels that I’ve read in a long time. If you’re in the mood for something light yet smart and sassy, The Hatting Game is a must read.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman work together. Both are assistants to two CEOs of a publishing house that has merged and it was not an amicable amalgamation. For Lucy and Josh it was pretty much hate at first sight. Lucy tried to befriend Josh and when that didn’t work, the hating game was born. When you sit across from your mortal enemy each and every day it’s quite natural to turn your mutual animosity into a childish game. However, things start to change when both Lucy and Josh are considered for a new position within the company. The best person might win, but it just might be at the expense of a newfound romance.
(more…)

More from Nalini Singh in “Wild Embrace”

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Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh
Berkley: August 23, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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After reading the fantastic Allegiance of Honor, I was ecstatic to get my hands on Singh’s new novella collection. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to revisit some of my favourite characters from the Psy-Changeling series in Allegiance, but I did miss the emphasis on romance. Happily, Wild Embrace addressed exactly what I was missing from the novel. Each novella included in this collection offers readers a peak into the world, as well as answers to some questions that have been plaguing fans throughout the series. While all of the novellas are great, my favouite ended up being Flirtation of Fate. (more…)

Non-Traditional Romances in “Gambled Away”

29726166Gambled Away by Joanna Bourne, Isabel Cooper, Rose Lerner, Jeannie Lin, & Molly O’Keefe
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Author

The view was nice, but the food was bad
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Gambled Away is a novella collection that I find difficult to review. Objectively, this collection is well written and I enjoyed how all of the authors played with the historical romance genre, offering readers something different in a genre that is often slammed for its sameness. While intellectually I appreciate how unique all of the novellas were, I confess to feeling that none were to my personal taste. Perhaps it was the constraints of the novella format, perhaps it was just me, but I will admit to feeling that none of the novellas were particularly romantic. Now, I’m not saying that everything must be hearts and flowers, but I did personally feel that there was a lack of emotional depth to the majority of the novellas in this collection, at least for this reader. (more…)

Monstress: Awakening

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Monstress, Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Image Comics: July 19, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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Monstress is the first volume in a a historical fantasy graphic novel series, and it’s amazing. Like, really amazing. The artwork is gorgeous and the storyline is compelling and mysterious. Fantasy fans out there will rejoice at the sheer level of complexity of the world that has been created in this graphic novel.

Maika is a teenage girl who’s out for revenge. She orchestrates her own capture in order to infiltrate those she believes to have the information that she needs. Something has happened to Maika and she finds herself changing, becoming more violent as she’s influenced by an unknown force. Maika struggles to control the monster that is living inside her, but it’s a constant struggle and at this point Maika doesn’t have much control over the mysterious creature the compels her to do things she wouldn’t otherwise. (more…)

The Spinster Dons a Pair of Pants in “The Duke of Daring”

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The Duke of Daring by Darcy Burke
Darcy Burk: July 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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The Duke of Daring is Darcy Burke’s most recent historical romance and it features a cross-dressing heroine who is prowling gambling dens in search of a fortune so that she and her grandmother can retire to Bath. What this heroine doesn’t count on is having her disguise discovered. Let the romance games begin!

Our cross-dressing heroine is Miss Lucinda Parnell, a spinster who has failed at the Marriage Mart. With finances now strained for her and her grandmother Lucinda decides that she needs cash and she needs it now. Having learned games of chance from her father Lucinda’s hit on one method to get rich quick; however, she doesn’t count on Andrew Wentworth, the Earl of Dartford discovering that she is a woman or her own attraction to the man. Andrew, being the gentleman that he is, decides that Lucinda can’t be entering disreputable gambling dens on her own and makes a deal with the lady to accompany her on her adventures. Naturally, this close contact leads to an attraction, and just as naturally, it leads both the hero and heroine forced to reconcile their desire for each other with their reluctance to enter into marriage. (more…)