Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Love for Leah by Amy Lillard ~ Review

Title: A Love for Leah (Amish of Pontotoc #2)
Author: Amy Lillard
Genre: Adult, Inspirational Romance, Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

For the Amish of Pontotoc, Mississippi, faith can open minds—and hearts—to create surprising bonds for a lifetime . . .

Independent-minded Leah Gingerich has always been outspoken. And even though she is now a progressive Mennonite, she's rediscovering the joys of family traditions back in her Amish hometown. Yet she can't help but clash with her handsome new Amish neighbor, Jamie Stoltzfus. He's too hard-headed and old-line to see that his traumatized young nephew, Peter, needs faith and help—or that a woman who stands up to him may be what he needs to heal . . .

After a devastating tragedy, Jamie moved to Pontotoc with his nephew for a fresh start. Holding fast to his beliefs is the only way he feels he can aid Peter—and himself. But somehow, Leah's freethinking ways and feisty challenges are sparking a happiness he's never felt before. Soon, Jamie can't imagine his life without her. But are their differences ultimately too great to overcome—or can love bridge their way to a future together?

A Love for Leah was very different than what I expected when I first started reading. Many of the characters in the book were not what I have come to associate with the traditional Amish romance themes. Leah lad left the Amish community many years ago to follow her twin sister Hannah in her life among the English. However, now that her sister has returned to the Amish community, she has instead chosen to join the Mennonite church nearby.

Their lives seem to be going along just fine when Jamie moves to the Amish community with his young nephew Peter. Peter is a special boy that is dealing with a horrible tragedy that has led him to stop speaking. At first, Leah and Jamie seem destined to be enemies, but soon everyone realizes that there's more under the surface.

The part that stood out the most in this book was the way all the characters found their own path to the same God. While their lifestyles may be quite different, their core beliefs were so similar and the author was able to show them in a way that really highlighted the similarities. It also showed how a difference of faith and way of life shouldn't stand in the way of friendship and helping each other. Leah had to remind Jamie of that a few times, and I love how he was able to take her words to heart. Then when it came time for Jamie to share a lesson with Leah, she opened her heart to hear his words and wonderful things happened.

With a bit of a twist at the end that I didn't quite see coming, A Love for Leah was an amazing book. This may be a series that I need to pick up and read through so I can read more about the family and their community.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Under Lock and Key by Sam Short ~ Review

Title: Under Lock & Key (Water Witch Cozy Mystery #1)
Author: Sam Short
Genre: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Length: 286 pages
Publisher: Sam Short Books
Release Date: January 13, 2017
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Penelope Weaver’s back in Wickford, hoping to relax after a four-month trip aboard her boat. Relaxation is not something she should really have expected though – after all, she is a member of the only witch family in town.

It’s no ordinary witch family either. Granny’s developed witch dementia, and Boris the goat is getting used to his new life of brandy and biscuits whenever he demands it. He’s starting a blog too, but that’s a whole different story.

Penelope’s mother is still visiting the magical haven on a regular basis, and continuing her conquest to get Penny off her boat and back onto dry land. All things considered, everything’s relatively normal in town.

When a murder occurs in Wickford, Penny, her best friend, and her sister, are drawn into the mystery, helping their oversized and under skilled policeman friend to solve it.

There’s also a rumour going around that Barney may have the hots for Penelope, but Penelope’s mother disagrees. She thinks Barney may be Scottish. Penelope’s mother is a complicated woman.

There’s a barking goose too. Come to think about it - the only normal animal in Penny’s life is her cat, Rosie.

Join the residents of Wickford for some light-hearted fun in this 60,000 word cozy mystery novel, which contains no blood and gore, and only very minimal use of the tamest of bad language.

Under Lock & Key was a book club pick (thank you book club). Penelope's witchy family isn't very traditional, and we can tell right from the start that she isn't either. When she returns from selling potions in her houseboat, she stumbles right back into her crazy family life, but this time there's also a murder involved.

When she decides to help the police solve the crime, she begins a crazy journey with her Granny, a talking goat, and her best friend. Their story is hilarious, and I loved all the unique characters with such fun personalities and quirks. The mystery wasn't a doozy by any means, but the author was careful not to give it all away too soon. This book is perfect for escaping reality for an evening.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro ~ Audiobook Review

Title: Private (Private #1)
Author: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Genre: Adult, Suspense
Length: 7 hours 3 minutes
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Release Date: June 28, 2010
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by:  Jasmyn

The police can't help you....

Former Marine helicopter pilot Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily - and his staff of investigators uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.

The press will destroy you....

Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multi-million dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of 18 schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down her killer.

Only one place to turn: Private....

But Jack doesn't have to play by the rules. As he closes in on the killer and chooses between revenge and justice, Morgan has to navigate a workplace love affair that threatens to blow the roof off his plans. With a plot that moves at death-defying speeds, Private is James Patterson's sleekest, most exciting thriller ever.

Private was an interesting audio experience. I can now say that I have tried - and don't like - audiobooks with music. It's one thing to have a few seconds between chapters when no one is talking, but music with the talking is just too hard to listen to. 

The story of Private is an exciting and very busy one though. Private investigator Jack Morgan takes on three different very high profile cases throughout the book, which I think was a little much (unless they all intersected, which they don't). I feel like the case of the dead teenagers and the murder of his friend's wife should have been separate stories as they were both very complicated and I hated bouncing away from either one of them. It made the book a little confusing with all the information and clues being found and discussed.

I also really didn't like Jack. He has some legitimate issues of PTSD that he's not actually dealing with. But he also treats the women in his life like crap with a fear of commitment and need for "freedom" that I just wasn't buying into. The worst part was that these women were very intelligent and still fell for it. Unfortunately, I don't see myself continuing this series with a lead character that I just don't like.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre ~ Review

Title: I Only Have Eyes for You (The Sullivans #4)
Author: Bella Andre
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Oak Press LLC
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

The only woman Jake McCann wants is the one he can never have. But even though he knows loving Sophie Sullivan isn’t the right thing to do...how can he possibly resist? 

Sophie Sullivan, a librarian in San Francisco, was five years old when she fell head over heels in love with Jake McCann. Twenty years later, she’s convinced the notorious bad boy still sees her as the “nice” Sullivan twin. That is, when he bothers to look at her at all. But when they both get caught up in the magic of the first Sullivan wedding, she knows it’s long past time to do whatever it takes to make him see her for who she truly is...the woman who will love him forever. 

Jake has always been a magnet for women, especially since his Irish pubs made him extremely wealthy. But the only woman he really wants is the one he can never have. Not only is Sophie his best friend’s off-limits younger sister...he can’t risk letting her get close enough to discover his deeply hidden secret. 

Only, when Sophie appears on his doorstep as Jake’s every fantasy come to life—smart, beautiful, and shockingly sexy—he doesn’t have a prayer of taking his eyes, or his hands, off her. And he can’t stop craving more of her sweet smiles and sinful kisses. Because even though Jake knows loving Sophie isn’t the right thing to do...how can he possibly resist? 

The Sullivans are a really fun family, and when I saw that book four about the librarian and book lover of the family, I couldn't resist. Sophie Sullivan is a "good girl" and is often overlooked as a person no one needs to worry about because she will always do the right thing. But that has gotten her nowhere with the one man she's had a crush on for years. She decides to liven up her life and live on the edge a little, taking a page out of her twin sister's naughty ways. I'm sure Sophie would have for me to say this, but it was adorable. I loved seeing her take risks and come out of her shell. She turned into a bold woman that wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted in life.

On the other half of this romantic equation, we have Jake. Jake was all-but-adopted by the Sullivans and grew up thinking of Sophie as the sister he needed to protect. When Sophie turns the tables on him and starts her pursuit, he really doesn't have a clue how to handle it. Watching the good girl fluster the bad boy with her naughty ways was refreshing, and I really enjoyed it.

The downside to this book, and to the series so far, is that some of the intimate scenes just feel like the writing was forced and don't always flow with the story. I sort of want to just take them out and enjoy reading about the bond Sophie and Jake are building because that is what makes this a good story.

Friday, July 20, 2018

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey ~ Audiobook Review

Title: If You've Got It, Haunt It (A Haunted Vintage Mystery #1)
Author: Rose Pressey
Genre: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Cookie Chanel has a passion for fashion--and a murder mystery to solve!

Cookie Chanel has opened her own vintage clothing boutique, It's Vintage, Y'All, in the charming town of Sugar Creek, Georgia. Always on the lookout for stylish second-hand steals, she attends the estate sale of deceased socialite Charlotte Meadows. But she gets a lot more than she bargained for when Charlotte's ghost appears before her--offering fashion advice and begging Cookie to find out who murdered her.

As the persistent poltergeist tags along and a possibly psychic pussycat moves into the shop, Cookie sorts through racks of suspects to see who may be hiding some skeletons in the closet. Do a clothing store owner and a disembodied socialite have a ghost of a chance of collaring a killer--or will Cookie's life be the next one hanging by a thread?

Don't miss Cookie Chanel's Fashion Tips!

When vintage clothing store owner Cookie Chanel (I have to admit that name is perfect for her) finds herself haunted by a ghost named Charlotte. She discovers the only way to get rid of the ghost is to solve a murder. This isn't just any ghost. It's a ghost with a keen eye for vintage fashion and a sarcastic side.

Charlotte is determined to find out who killed her, and since Cookie is the only person who can see her, then Cookie is the one she'll follow until her murder is solved. I really loved the southern genteel side that so casually mixed with a dash of sarcasm and a little "who is more fashionable" competition. And there are plenty of vintage fashion and shopping tips for anyone who loves the look.

The book moved a little slow for me and there were just too many wrong leads. Even though the case was solved in the end, it seemed like I had forgotten how it all started by the time we got there. Now, I was listening to the story in audiobook form, so perhaps the physical copy would have "read" faster.

There were some very funny scenes that I really enjoyed, and they made the slow pace a little easier to listen to. This is much more of a sit back and relax kind of read than what I'm used to even from cozy mysteries.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward ~ Audiobook Review

Title: Lover Reborn ( Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Length: 572 pages
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been unrecognizable from the vampire leader he once was. Physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair, he has been brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel. Now, fighting once again with ruthless vengeance, he is unprepared to face a new kind of tragedy. 

When Tohr begins to see his beloved in his dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld far from the peace and tranquillity of the Fade—he turns to the angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. But because Lassiter tells him he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed.... 

Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past and a very hot, passion-filled future…but can his heart let go and set all of them free?

Lover Reborn is the story of two second-chances. Tohrment may have returned to the Brotherhood physically, but mentally and emotionally he is lost, consumed with the pain of losing his shellan and child. His obsession with remembering them is actually a very bad thing. While he should never forget them, the angel Lassiter reveals that Tor's actions have actually doomed his lost family.

I wasn't a really big fan of this story. When Tor is told he needs to move on and love again, he does everything but. And it's pretty obvious, but no one seems to call him out on it. He treats No'one like garbage, and because of her past, she feels like she deserves it. Sound familiar? It's a very toxic start to a relationship.

Ward manages to salvage their relationship, so don't think this isn't going to have a somewhat happy ending, but the whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth. The saving grace? Tor's dead family and the real turning moment of the book. I'm glad to see Tor on the road to becoming a whole person again, and before the loss of his shellan, he was one of my favorite brothers. Hopefully, I'll get to see more of that person now that we have all this out of the way.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist

Title: Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
Author: Shauna Niequist
Genre: Adult, Nonfiction, Self-Help
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: July 14, 2010
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

In her follow-up book to Cold Tangerines, author Shauna Niequist shifts her gaze to the challenges and blessings of change in Bittersweet. Drawing from her own experiences in a recent season of pain and chaos, she explores the bits of wisdom and growth we earn the hard way, through change, loss, and transition, and offers her own reflections on what brought her hope along the way.

Bittersweet was a mix between like and repetitive for me. While I appreciated and quite often really enjoyed the author's outlook and words of wisdom, there didn't seem to be enough new ones to completely fill the book. The book also has a very heavy religious tone to it. I knew going in that it had some, but it was a little too much for my taste. 

Also, the food. Detailing every meal she ever had, how it was prepared, and if people liked it or not was too much. I'll be honest, I stopped reading those parts and just skipped right over them with a mental "And then they ate."

I did enjoy her stories about life, and the way she pointed out that bad things do happen to everyone. It's how people react and allow those bad times to shape the rest of their lives that can make or break a person. Learning to enjoy the good moments in the busy lives most of seem to live is a lesson I need to learn sometimes. Her stories of the simple things that stayed with her helped me remember some from my life, and it was very refreshing.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Miss Behave by Nikky Kaye

Title: Miss Behave
Author: Nikky Kaye
Genre: Adult, Romantic Comedy
Length: 226 pages
Publisher: Nonskid Publishing
Source: Review Request
Reviewed by: Jasmyn


When he stormed into my office and said I owed him a date, I thought he was crazy. Okay, crazy and hot. But I couldn’t help it that my advice column blocked his, uh, rooster.

Good girls like me aren’t supposed to fall for dirty-talking men with smoldering eyes and hidden tattoos—especially since now that we’re working together.

If you can call going on blind double dates and researching adult toy stores work…

Why did I want to be a good girl, again?

MISS BEHAVE is a flirty, funny, frisky romantic comedy about putting the “man” back in “manners.” This enemies-to-friends-to-lovers office romance will push all your buttons, then unbutton them…

Miss Behave is everything I hoped for. It's light, funny, super hot, and the characters were amazing. I loved the battle of the sexes vibe that came through with Ash and Lizzy both writing advice columns, and their different approaches were so much fun to read. Where Ash says he's more down to earth, telling it like it is, Lizzy tries to be more neutral and kind. But, to be honest, they both give pretty good advice from what I read.

When they are thrown together to write just one column instead of two, it gives them just the chance they need to fall head over heels for each other. But they seem to be from two different worlds. When Ash sticks his foot in it, Lizzy feels like he's betrayed her trust. Not sure I would have seen it the same way, but it led to one of the best apology scenes ever! It wasn't groveling or Lizzy being overly dramatic. She was hurt, and he made sure she knew he would never mean to do that.

I wish I could have read this in one sitting - but life prevented it. It's the perfect book to just dive into and not come up for air until it's done.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of the book*

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Trouble with Mirrors by Charlotte Elkins and Aaron Elkins ~ Review

Title: The Trouble with Mirrors (Alix London #4)
Author: Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins
Genre: Adult, Mystery
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Source: Goodreads
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Alix London, the art restorer and FBI consultant renowned as the Art Whisperer, can spot a counterfeit masterpiece before the paint even dries. What she can’t see is why an elite European art dealer would offer her big money for a little mirror that’s no more than a homemade gift from her beloved uncle Tiny. Not that Alix would part with it at any price. But when the mirror is abruptly stolen from her home, she realizes that someone sees more in the looking glass than mere sentimental value.
When her uncle Tiny disappears mysteriously just after the mirror is stolen, the simple art theft becomes a personal and professional challenge Alix can’t ignore. With backup from her friends in the FBI, her game-for-anything pal Chris, and an aging-but-dogged Italian police detective, she delves into the puzzling case, only to find that there is much more to this theft than meets the eye. Once the Mafia shows up on the scene, Alix’s mission becomes a do-or-die race to find the one possible man with all the answers.
The Trouble with Mirrors ties up a lot of loose ends in Alix London's life - many of which revolve around her "Uncle" Tiny. When a treasured mirror that Tiny had gifted her is stolen, it opens a door to an old international art scandal. Leave it to Alex to find herself right in the middle of it all.

Using her "Art Whisperer" intuition and her extensive knowledge of everything art related (which was a bit over the top because you can't be an expert in all of it - there's just too much.) This was far more exciting and thrilling than the past books in the series. There's mafia, Italian police, FBI, and all of Alix's crew back home. Each group with their own objectives and ways to accomplish them.

In the end, we have a tad bit rushed reveal and another case solved by Alix and her friends. This book stood out more as a group effort to solve the case, involving all of Alix's friends and family. This appears to be the last book in the Alix London series so far, but I'd definitely read more if they are written.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

Monday, July 9, 2018

Her Dark Half by Paige Tyler ~ Review

Title: Her Dark Half (X-Ops #7)
Author: Paige Tyler
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Military Romance
Length: 348 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Trevor Maxwell
Coyote shifter with an attitude
Covert operator
Trusts no one, especially his devastatingly beautiful new partner

Alina Bosch
Former CIA, newest operative on the covert team
Hired to spy on her partner
Motto: "Never be deceived again."

Coyote shifter Trevor Maxwell is teamed up with CIA agent Alina Bosch to catch a killer. But when the mission becomes much more dangerous than they expected, they're going to have to ignore the attraction between them and learn how to trust one another to come out on the other side...

X-Ops is a favorite of mine, and coyote shifter Trevor Maxwell is a great example of why. He's sarcastic, witty, and loyal to his team above all else. Even when he knows that his teammate has been sent to spy on him. Alina was hit and miss for me. I understood her trust issues, but I didn't understand why they weren't universal. She wouldn't trust her teammate because she trusted someone else that said he was bad. But why did she trust that someone else? 

Aside from my hesitation over who Alina chose to trust, she was a really fun character. There are several undercover scenes that were just perfect. The dialog and interactions between Trevor and Alina were hot! And the way they build up the tension.....I wasn't sure if they were going to implode before they got together or not.

There's also a cute dog that the neighbor watches who has an amazing habit of busting in at inopportune times to help lighten the mood. However, it wasn't all fun and laughs. There are some pretty serious things happening in the world of X-Ops. Just when you think the bad guys have been dealt a death blow - they seem to jump right back up with some new back pocket plan and ally. Tons of suspense and I was on the edge of my seat for many reasons throughout Her Dark Half.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*


Thursday, July 5, 2018

You Made Your Bed by Cornelia Goddin ~ Review

Title: You Made Your Bed
Author: Cornelia Goddin
Genre: Adult, Thriller
Length: 364 pages
Publisher: Backstreet Books
Release Date: June 20, 2018
Source: Review Request
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Out of her f***ing mind. 
From the outside, Caroline Crowe has everything: famous father, pretty much all the money, the freedom to live any kind of life she wants. On the inside, it's another story. 

This girl daydreams about murder and how to get away with it. And it sure looks like she's got the resources--including a heart of stone--required for the job. 

You're only as sick as your secrets. 

But Caroline's never, ever going to tell.

You Made Your Bed is quite a dark story about the Crowe family - primarily their only daughter Caroline. Goddin brought me right into this troubled woman's head and I took up a perch alongside the Jeerlings (which I pictured as crows) to listen to her thoughts and watch her every move as she plans a murder. She's been planning a murder in her head for quite a while now, she just doesn't really know whose it is yet.

Caroline appears to be an incredibly smart woman, but as the story unfolds and I learned more about her, I quickly realized that there was something seriously wrong. This is what the first half of the book seemed to be. Goddin was trying to show me just how messed up Caroline was. While this let me into her head and helped build a sense of sympathy for her, it also caused the book to get off to a very slow start.

Eventually, someone "forces" Caroline's hand, and she must kill them to protect herself and her family. As the murder plays out and we follow and listen to Caroline's thoughts, the author does a great job of portraying just how desperate she felt. How she had no choice. How it wasn't really her fault.

The ending was just amazing. All the family tension and issues finally boil over and while I don't think I'd call it an actual resolution - some of Caroline's problems to disappear. But that isn't the end, now Caroline needs to decide what's next, and as she walks out the door I have to wonder if everything that happened will allow her to live a normal life.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sweet Home Highland Christmas by May McGoldrick ~ Review

Title: Sweet Home Highland Christmas (The Pennington Family 1.5)
Author: May McGoldrick
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance, Christmas
Length: 102 pages
Publisher: Swerve
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Freya Sutherland is a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her precocious young niece, Ella. After the death of her father, Freya is willing to do anything to prove she's capable of being Ella's guardian, even if it means marrying for security instead of love.

Recently retired from the military, Captain Gregory Pennington wants nothing more than to make it home in time for Christmas. When his brother hears of his plans to return to the family estate for the holidays, he asks Penn to escort some travelers to the bordering estate.

When Freya and Penn meet their chemistry is instant. Once they realize he's their escort for the journey, there's no escaping their attraction. But Penn has plans that do not include a wife and child. And Freya has responsibilities as Ella's guardian, no matter her growing discontent with her upcoming marriage. With Ella conspiring to get them together, Penn and Freya might just experience a little magic during the holidays.

Sweet Home Highland Christmas really stood out for me because of the hero. Captain Gregory Pennington isn't your typical soldier or spare to inherit a title. He's an engineer! This really excited me, and I think the authors did a great job showing his intellect, curiosity, and problem-solving skills all along the journey as he escorted Freya and her five-year-old niece, Ella.

Ella really steals the show. I love when a child can be such a central part of a romance, and I don't see that very often in the historical genre. If there are just tons of these out there that I haven't heard of yet, feel free to drop the title in the comments so I can check them out. Ella is also very intelligent, and when she meets Pennington, she promptly decides that he would be a much better husband for her aunt than the cousin Freya has been dreading to marry.

While this isn't a love at first sight story, it is a case of falling in love quickly. As the small party journeys through the Scottish countryside in the winter, I was able to get to know these characters through an ice-skating break, bedtime stories, and midnight confessions. The story takes place during the Christmas season, but it really wasn't mentioned too much until the very end, which I found a tad rushed, like the authors were running into a word or page count limit, but overall a very satisfying story.

*I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ~ Review

Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Adult, Dystopia
Length: 311 pages
Publisher: Anchor Books
Release Date: March 16, 1985
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

I read this book a long time ago. With the recent rise of making mini-series for books on NetFlix, Hulu, and prime cable channels, book club selected it so they could read it before watching (at least most of them did). I loved having a chance to pick this incredible story up again. The TV show was quite different the further I got into it. It was a great way of highlighting things that I “liked” better or worse between the two and opened a whole new conversation about the events as well.

Most of you will know the basics of the story – a dystopian somewhat futuristic society that has reverted to extreme religious views (of a sort) and certain class of young fertile women are related to basically be breeding stock for the military higher-ups and the elite. Not a very pleasant situation.

I think what I enjoyed most about the book was the ending – so I won’t say too much other than it surprised me. It’s quite open-ended, which I usually don’t like. But in this case, it just seemed to fit. I highly recommend this book – and it seems to be a quite fitting read in our current political climate as well.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tempted by the Viscount by Sofie Darling ~ Excerpt

Title: Tempted by the Viscount (Shadows and Silk #2)
Author: Sofie Darling
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Length: 283 pages
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Release Date: June 27, 2018

London, April 1825 

Lord Jakob Radclyffe left his past behind in the Far East. Or so he thinks until a ruthless thief surfaces in London, threatening to ruin his daughter’s reputation. With the clock ticking, Jake needs the scandalous Lady Olivia Montfort’s connections in the art world to protect his daughter’s future. 

Olivia, too, has a past she’d like to escape. By purchasing her very own Mayfair townhouse, she’ll be able to start a new life independent from all men. There’s one problem: she needs a powerful man’s name to do so. The Viscount St. Alban is the perfect name. 

A bargain is struck. 

What Olivia doesn’t anticipate is the temptation of the viscount. The undeniable spark of awareness that races between them undermines her vow to leave love behind. Soon, she has no choice but to rid her system of Jake by surrendering to her craving for a single scorching encounter. 

But is once enough? Sometimes once only stokes the flame of desire higher and hotter. And sometimes once is all the heart needs to risk all and follow a mad passion wherever it may lead.

“And what in this world doesn’t a woman under the protection of a duke have at her fingertips?”

Her own Mayfair townhouse, she didn’t reply. Instead, she pressed her lips together and held his piercing gaze.

A possibility stole in. He wasn’t only a man. He was an opportunity.

She and he each had something the other wanted. And they each had the power to give it to the other. It was simple.

Misgiving seized her. This was Lord St. Alban. Nothing would remain simple with him for long. She felt it in her bones. But how badly did she want her independence?

It felt like a test question. And Lord St. Alban was the correct answer.
About the Author:
Sofie Darling is an award-winning author of historical romance. Her debut novel, THREE LESSONS IN SEDUCTION, won the Writers’ League of Texas’ Manuscript Contest in the Romance Category in 2016.

She spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized she simply had to write the books she loved, she finished her English degree and embarked on her writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.

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