Pucked Off by Helena HuntingPucked Off by Helena Hunting
on February 21st, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance."

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t.

Another great book from the Pucked series!

You might go in to this book thinking you KNOW Lance.. He’s all about the partying and the puck bunnies, yeah… NO. He’s a completely different person than we all thought he was. I’m not going to go in to too many details about this book because Helena wanted the heroine to stay a secret. Is it Tash, is it someone new? You’ll have to start reading this book to find out for yourself.

However, this book was definitely a lot darker, I think, compared to the rest of the series. It’s not as laugh out loud as the previous books. Sure, we see the rest of the gang here and there in this book, but not enough to make this a romantic comedy like the previous books. Lance’s story is not what I thought it would be. It’s very heartbreaking and will have you crying at times. When we are getting to know more about Lance, I didn’t realize he’d have something in common with Christian Grey..and NO, it’s not what you’re thinking. You’ll have to read it and come back and tell me what you think it is.

In the end though, Lance gets his happily ever after. 🙂

I really enjoyed this book, but it needs more Violet! I can never get enough of her!

Check out the rest of the series:

Pucked by Helena Hunting Pucked Up by Helena Hunting Pucked Over by Helena Hunting Forever Pucked by Helena Hunting Pucked Under by Helena Hunting
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A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan #1) by Julie McElwainA Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
Published by Pegasus Books on April 11, 2016
Pages: 498
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

Does the cover of this book not beckon you to read it!?

Yes, I will admit, I judged this book by its cover. I am glad I read the story synopsis and thought it sounded rad as well.

This would be a great book to use that Christmas book money on or gift to your bibliophile friends who love murder mysteries, feminist fiction, Doctor Who, and Sherlock Holmes.

I think fans of Outlander are going to fall in love with the Kendra Donovan series.
I think fans of Outlander are going to fall in love with the Kendra Donovan series.

Strong female lead? Check.

Action? Check.

Time travel? Check.

History? Check!

Mystery? Check!

Who can resist a time-travelling-historical-fiction-mystery with a bad-ass female protagonist? Not me, and you will not be able to either, once you are introduced to the crime fighting, slightly messed-up world of FBI agent, Kendra Donovan. ( I really like using hyphens.)

Kendra Donovan is the twenty-something offspring of ambition-driven, cold and calculating parents.

The story of Donovan’s parents and her past sound like they were equally plucked from the early twentieth century and some time in the future. This will make sense if you read the book and are familiar with the term eugenics.

While the first third of Kendra’s story unfolds in the present, the majority of the book takes place in a castle. In nineteenth-century England. DELIGHTFUL.

It was entertaining to listen to Kendra’s thoughts as she compared and contrasted the customs and rituals of polite and lower-class society in 1815 to the customs and social class divisions of our present time. There was a fun Upstairs, Downstairs/ Downton Abbey atmosphere to the story. Unfortunately for Kendra, she was plopped “downstairs” when she travelled back in time, and there are some hilarious moments in which things just aren’t working out for her and she loses her cool.

“The accouterments of humanity may change, but its heartbeat remained the same.”

There is great blend of Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes-esque imagery and plot in the novel. It was fun to witness how the modern FBI agent had to mask her modern crime detection skills under the guise of being a uniquely educated foreigner.

I kind of ended up imagining Kendra Donovan like this in the present...
I kind of ended up imagining Kendra Donovan like this in the present…
...And like this in the 19th century, although her hair is very different as described in the book.
…And like this in the 19th century (although her hair is very different as described in the book).

The main character often references some of the most familiar historical aspects (writers, tropes, concepts, philosophies) of the time period while trying to navigate her way around society. It might come off as trite, but the reader has to remind themselves that Kendra Donovan is a brainiac, prone to encyclopedic thought-streams.

This book was darker than I anticipated. There are grisly murders and graphic autopsies, but if you are a fan of other nineteenth-century crime/mystery novels, then it is nothing too shocking. Jack the Ripper comes to mind…

If you are looking for something with the level of romance and rendezvous that the Outlander series had, then you will be a little disappointed. While there is the hint of a developing romance throughout the book, we do not see any real ”action” until the end. But I liked this aspect of the novel. I enjoyed that the novel focused on this strong and smart, liberated woman solving crimes instead of her swooning over some English heartthrob. That being said, the story ends in a way that lets us know there is definitely more romance to come in the next novel.

Overall, A Murder in Time was an action-packed, atmospheric, fun and absorbing read. I am excited to read the next novel in the series, A Twist in Time, due out this April.

a-twist-in-time-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Girl at Midnight by Melissa GreyThe Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight
Published by Delacorte Press on April 28, 2015
Pages: 357
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Magic lives in our darkest corners.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants…and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

I am glad I read this book a year after it released. I originally wanted to read it upon release day because there was so much hype about it in the blogger world/twitterverse. But again, so glad I did not. I think I would have been monumentally disappointed if I had. Instead, I was just a little disappointed after reading it last week.

The poetic name and aesthetic appeal of the novel set the bar pretty high for what I was expecting and it is not that I was disappointed with the story itself, but in the way it was delivered.

Ran across this on Polyvore and it reminded me of TGaM cover:

New York Nights ~ Raeven Steal
New York Nights ~ Raeven Steal by sorrel-noir featuring fine jewelry

 

The Girl at Midnight came across as a mid-grade level read for me, and I was expecting something a lot darker and bad-ass in tone I guess. A lot of the dialogue came off as too cheesy/trying too hard when it came to the comic relief attempts throughout the story. Despite that, there were descriptions and sentences scattered throughout the novel that were poetic in their delivery, and I continued reading the book for those moments.

As for the plot/storyline, fans of The Mortal Instruments, The Vampire Diaries, Aladdin,  and the old-school X Men cartoons will enjoy the familiar feel that The Girl at Midnight evokes. The story still maintains an entertaining uniqueness even if some of the characters and story threads seem plucked from other popular series.

I enjoyed the dynamic between all of the characters. Echo, the main female protagonist, was easy to relate to and fall for because of her background and love of libraries, literature, and languages. I enjoyed her role throughout the story and I think I will like her even more in the next novel.

Outside view of NYPL.
Outside view of NYPL.

The story world is both in and out of this world. I think the setting(s) was probably my favorite aspect of The Girl at Midnight. I mean, who hasn’t dreamt of living in their own secret nook hidden in the New York Public Library?! I also loved that Echo was able to globetrot in search of mystical clues via the use of magic and the ”in between” .

A lovely indoor shot of the NYPL.
A lovely indoor shot of the NYPL.

Have you read The Girl at Midnight? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comment section below.

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The Empty Jar by M. LeightonThe Empty Jar by M. Leighton
on May 8th, 2016
Pages: 414
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Three months touring Europe.
Romantic. Dazzling. Unforgettable.
The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter...

We couldn’t have known it would work out this way.
No one could. No one could’ve guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.

Yet so, so beautiful.

That’s what sacrifice is—beauty and tragedy.
It’s pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice.
One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.
Our true love story.

Hello fellow bookworm,
I hope you’re having a good day. I’m not sure how often you read, but I just finished a book called “The Empty Jar.” I can’t wait to tell you about it.
I think you will enjoy reading it. It is written by M. Leighton. She sent me an advanced copy before it was released so I could read and review it. She’s written several books. Most of which are racy romance, but this book is not at all racy. It’s not a romance per say. It is a love story. One that is beautifully written, emotionally heartbreaking at times, and real. One that I hope you’ll read. One that I think you’ll enjoy all the same because you’ll come out on the other side better for it.
It’s not an easy read at times, but again it is real and I am so thankful I read it. You see, Michelle, lost her father around the time I lost mine. In fact, her father died of stage IV cancer a couple weeks before my dad passed away. I’m not sure if it’s because of her personal experience with losing a father that had me drawn to this story. I could relate with much of the book and the emotional journey the characters were faced it. It is fictional, but has a truth to it that is all too real. To say I cried is an understatement. I sobbed. Like snotty tears sobbed. The note from Michelle at the end of the book made me sob too.
Michelle is an amazing person. I’ve chatted with her off and on over the last few years and I’ve never read one tweet or one Facebook post where she has ever said anything remotely negative about anyone. Even at times where some went out of their way to be negative and downright rude and hurtful to her. She is definitely a genuine person. The world needs more people like her in it.
So in closing, again, I hope you’ll take the time to read this story. Once you start reading you won’t want to put it down. You’ll be caught up in Lena & Danny’s story. A love story.
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About M. Leighton

I was born and raised in the United States, and I’ve lived in several of the fabulous fifty. Though I currently live in the deep South, I spent much of my childhood up North and hope to return there one day. A few other things about me: I believe that sometimes you have to look really, REALLY hard to find the good in people, but it’s there. I believe that I’m shrinking (I swear five years ago I was two inches taller). I believe my husband is quite possibly one of the most amazing men in the entire world (I can’t be sure because I haven’t met all of them). I believe coffee and chocolate, when combined, could be the basis for world peace. I believe that Jesus rocks and communism doesn’t. I believe that white makes me look fat and black collects lint. I believe summer’s too hot, winter’s too cold and fall was made for football. I like dogs better than cats and the first movie in a trilogy is invariably the best. But most of all, I believe that love conquers all.

Review & Giveway: The Rule Book by Jennifer BlackwoodThe Rule Book by Jennifer Blackwood
Series: The Rule Breakers #1
on May 9th, 2016
Pages: 290
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide
1. Don't call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don't stare at hot boss's, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don't get on the malicious first assistant's bad side.
4. Don't forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don't break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.

That synopsis SOLD ME. I was scrolling through my facebook feed and I saw one of the Publicists for Entangled that I am friends with on Facebook post the synopsis for this book last week and I one-clicked the shit out of it when I got done reading the synopsis.

I started reading this book last night and I finished it when I was supposed to be working today at work. Oops, my bad. I just couldn’t put it down.

Lainey is fresh out of college with a job in Seattle as the second assistant to Brogan Starr, the CEO of Starr Media. She’s being told by the first assistant that the boss is the “Antichrist” and she has a 300 employee handbook with 4028502846 rules that proves it.

Brogan Starr is apparently the Antichrist but when Lainey finally gets the chance to meet him and see him interact with his employees it’s obvious that maybe he really isn’t the “Devil”. It’s just his first assistant being an ass. No big surprise there, seeing as Jackson is an asshole from the very beginning. Brogan seems to get along with everyone who works for him and isn’t anything like Jackson made him out to be. Sure he has 5 million rules to be followed but it’s because he’s trying to protect himself.

I really enjoyed this book, Lainey is a witty, entertaining girl with a big heart. She’s doing what she can to help out her sick mom, giving up the finer things in life that she loves so much to make sure her mom gets the treatments she needs. I loved Lainey and Brogan together, even when she’s sticking her foot in her mouth (all the time). The banter between them was cute. Brogan is obviously affected by her but he’s trying to fight what he’s feeling for her. He’s a very private person and he doesn’t even let her touch a picture frame in his office.

If you’re looking for a romantic comedy that’s quirky and sweet, definitely check out this book! This book had a sweet epilogue but I have to wonder what’s going to happen with the rest of the series. I can’t wait to see what it will bring. Are we gonna get more of Lainey & Brogan’s story or are we going to move on to Lainey’s roommate Zoey? I kind of hope it’s more of Lainey and Brogan…but I guess we shall see. 🙂

 

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About Jennifer Blackwood

Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and contemporary romance author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Some Sort of Happy by Melanie HarlowSome Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow
Series: Happy Crazy Love #1
on September 22nd, 2015
Pages: 420
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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I almost didn’t believe it was him.

In high school, Sebastian Pryce had been an aloof outsider who kept to himself. But now, ten years later, he’s back and unusually attractive. With muscle in all the right places and hands that know exactly what they’re doing, Sebastian is everything I didn’t know I needed. And while he isn’t exactly friendly, he has a magnetism that draws me in.

He pulls away, afraid he’ll break me.

Until the night I demanded more—and he gave it. (Hard and deep. Twice.)

Were we just two lost, lonely people seeking solace?

Or could a disgraced reality TV star and a flawed, frustrating man actually find some sort of happy together?

** SOME SORT OF HAPPY is a full-length standalone romance. **

 

This book is amazing! I just re-read it for a second time THIRD TIME. I don’t usually re-read a book so soon after I read it the first time or second time, but I had to. I just LOVED Sebastian. He was imperfectly perfect. You get so used to reading about these PERFECT GUYS in romance novels, that it’s a little refreshing to find one who isn’t so perfect.

Reading the blurb, you’re not sure what you’re gonna get when you dive in to this book. You’ve got Skylar Nixon, fresh off the farm, er.. a stint on a reality show about riding cowboys. ;P She is a former Cherry Queen, who went out in to the world to try and find it as actress. Only to find herself on a reality TV show riding a mechanical bull. After realizing that she misses home, she’s back in Northern Michigan staying in a guest house on her parents’ property and working at a local vineyard.

Then you’ve got Sebastian Pryce, who recently relocated back to Michigan after breaking off his engagement to his ex-fiancee in New York City. He’s a lawyer working in his dad’s law firm and he’s working through some issues.

After Skylar’s time on a Reality TV show comes back to bite her in the ass. She ends up visiting Lighthouse Park to sit on the beach and just think about what she’s going to do with her life. When she’s leaving she notices a man sitting on the beach with her…when she realizes she forgot her shoes and turns back to get them, she falls down. After an awkward and somewhat rude re-introduction to each other, Skylar stomps up the stairs and takes off..and that’s how Skylar and Sebastian “meet.”

I really loved the characters of this book. Skylar is trying to find herself as a person after a failed attempt at an acting career in NYC and Sebastian is struggling with his severe OCD. Skylar is amazing when it comes to Sebastian and his quirks. She was understanding and patient with him and it really opened him up and they were just perfect together. Sebastian was also very supportive of Skylar and he really helped her re-discover herself.

This book was great and it’s the first in the Happy, Crazy, Love series. I definitely suggest you check this book out and the two sequels that follow it, Some Sort of Crazy and Some Sort of Love. I hope that some day Melanie revisits these two. I really loved them and I would love to see some more of them!

Also, This series takes place in Traverse City, MI. A lot of the locations mentioned in the book do exist. I happen to be in Traverse City over this last weekend and I took a couple of photos of places mentioned in this book. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to every place mentioned in the series but I did get to a couple.

The set of pictures below is Lighthouse Park where Skylar goes to sit and think about what to do with her life. It’s there that she falls down and runs into Sebastian. The staircase in the first photo is the staircase that she falls down by and ends up stomping up the stairs to get away from Sebastian.

 

 

 
Sleder's Family Tavern This is where Skylar and Sebastian go on their first "date" and get burgers. :)
Sleder’s Family Tavern

This is where Skylar and Sebastian go on their first “date” and get burgers. 🙂

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About Melanie Harlow

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

Book Review: Nine Minutes by Beth FlynnNine Minutes by Beth Flynn
Series: Nine Minutes #1
Published by Createspace on July 23rd, 2014
Pages: 317
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.

From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.

And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.

So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.

Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its fall.

Wow! This book was amazing! Well, if you can overlook an adult having sex with a fifteen year old. Normally I would have DNF’d the book right away, but after reading tons of reviews I knew I was going to go ahead and read it anyway. And honestly I’m glad I did.

There are so many layers to this story. I was hooked from the very first page. I can honestly say this book is easily one of the best books I’ve read in 2015. The plot, the interesting characters, the flow of the story were all masterly crafted by Ms Flynn. There wasn’t a single time while I was reading this book that I wanted to skim. I was devouring the pages as quickly as I possibly could. I was just so caught up in these characters that I had to know .what was going to happy next.

Speaking of characters… I liked all but a couple of them in this book. Most were interesting in their own right. Ms Flynn did a wonderful job building their back stories. I think that’s why I was so hooked on this book. With each turn of the pages I learned more and more about them. It felt like I couldn’t get enough of them. And the plot… Oh the plot. Unique and and addicting.

Overall, I am so happy I went ahead and read Nine Minutes. I’m going to start book two, Out of Time. There’s also suppose to be a book three that’s releasing sometime in 2016. I’m hoping it’s not far away. Out of Time released July 21, 2015 so maybe it won’t be long.

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About Beth Flynn

Beth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in South Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 17 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 31 years and have two daughters and two dogs.

In her spare time, Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a five-year breast cancer survivor.

Book Review: November 9 by Colleen HooverNovember 9 by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books on November 10th, 2015
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Hmm… As most of you know I’m a huge fan of Colleen Hoover. I love her books. For the most part.

The Slammed series was ah-maz-ing and also The Hopeless series was too. I have to say Hopeless and Losing Hope are my favorite books by her. I know without a doubt that at some point in the future I will read all of those books again.

Fast forward to Maybe Someday. The plot was intriguing and characters were well developed. I liked the idea of a companion music CD was also released. Although, I must say… I didn’t purchase it.

Then comes Ugly Love. I loved this one too. Miles Archer was a very interesting hero. And in case you haven’t heard. Ugly Love is going to be made into a movie. Nick Bateman will play Miles Archer. I think he’s a good fit.

Confess released next. O.M.G. has a new meaning in this book. It’s the initials for the hero. Owen Mason Gentry. He’s an amazing hero. One I was completely smitten with right from the beginning. The plot was unique and I loved pretty much everything about this book.

And finally we have Ms Hoover’s newest release. November 9. Once again the plot is unique, but sadly it’s a bit predictable. I’m not sure I was sold on the whole “only meeting once a year” idea. Again while it’s unique, I don’t think it’s realistic. A lot can happen in a year. 365 days is a long time.

As far as the characters go, I liked both the hero and heroine. I think Ben was good for Fallon’s self-esteem. At times he seemed older then he was. More mature then the average young twenty-something.

For the most part, I liked this book. I can’t say I loved it. It’s not one of my favorite’s by Ms Hoover, but still an enjoyable read.

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About Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover’s love for writing began in 1985 when she was five years old. Her first story was titled “Mystery Bob” and was a huge hit with her mother, who was really good at faking interest.
Colleen continued to write short stories for friends and family until December of 2011, when she decided to write a long story she titled, “Slammed.” She self-published SLAMMED to Amazon in January, 2012 and it hit the NYT’s bestsellers list in May, 2012. She has since signed with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and now has six NYT’s bestsellers. Colleen prefers to be called a writer, as the term “author” still terrifies her and makes this feel like a job with expectations. She doesn’t work well under pressure and hopes writing will always remain fun and exciting.

Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets ( A Jazz Age Mystery #2) by Ellen Mansoor CollierBathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets by Ellen Mansoor Collier
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #2
Published by Decodame Press on May 5, 2013
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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The last thing Jazz wants to do is compare make-up tips with ditzy dames competing in the Miss Universe contest, known as the "International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue." She'd rather help solve the murders of young prostitutes who turn up all over town, but city officials insist on burying the stories during Splash Day festivities. After Jazz gets to know the bathing beauties, she realizes there's a lot more to them than just pretty faces and figures.

Jazz becomes suspicious when she finds out the contest is also sponsored by the Maceos, aspiring Beach Gang leaders and co-owners of the Hollywood Dinner Club, where the girls will perform before the parade and pageant. Worse, her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis, a speakeasy on a rival gang's turf, asks her to call in a favor from handsome Prohibition Agent James Burton: He wants Agent Burton to raid the Hollywood Club during the bathing beauties dance routine--or risk revenge from the Downtown Gang leader. Her loyalties torn, Jazz is faced with an impossible task that could compromise both of their jobs and budding romance.

Meanwhile, Jazz fends off advances from Colin Ferris, an attractive but dangerous gangster who threatens Sammy as well as Burton. In the end, she must risk it all to save her friends from a violent killer hell-bent on revenge. Inspired by actual events. (Sequel to FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY, the first "Jazz Age Mystery" in the series.)

You can check out my review of the first book in this series, Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play HERE.

“”Boardwalk Empire” meets “Miss Universe” in 1927 Galveston, Texas-the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jasmine (“Jazz”) Cross is an ambitious 21-year-old society reporter for the Galveston Gazette who wants to be taken seriously by the good-old-boy staff, but the editors only assign her fluffy puff pieces, like writing profiles of bathing beauties.”

Here’s a fun alternate version of the cover:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]

 

I discovered this Jazz Age Mystery series while researching 1920s fiction and I tested the waters with Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play, which I adored. But, I gotta be honest. I enjoyed Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets EVEN MORE than the first book in this series!

Have no idea what ”Bathing Beauties” are or what the “Bathing Girl Revue” is? Then check out this cool footage of 1925 Galveston Beauties competing for the grand prize:

The plot, the slang, the characters, the details- they swirled together with all the cinematic verve of a Billy Wilder film! Twists and turns in the story definitely had me guessing (and getting it wrong, lol) more than in the first book.

Jasmine Cross (aka Jazz), the ballsy belle the Jazz Age Mysteries revolve around, continues to be fleshed-out in BBBB and I fell in love with her character a little more. I loved being inside Jazz’s head while she schemed all over town and connected overlooked dots to solve this Galveston murder mystery based on true events. Jazz is ready to move up from Society reporting and into the big time: Crime reporting. She proves to her fellow male colleagues at the Galveston Gazette that she’s got the moxie it takes to investigate big cases and I felt like Ms. Cross definitely left an impression on her boss. Maybe Jazz will be moving on up in the next novel? I’ll have to wait and see.

Vintage Bathing Beauties BW 1

There was a flicker of a romance in Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play that fans into a slightly bigger flame in Bathing Beauties. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Jazz and her love interest and can’t wait to see where it goes in the next novel.

The author does a really great job at capturing the cultural climate of Prohibition era Galveston. Everything from the customs, mannerisms, dialogue and gender roles/expectations bring this historical mystery to vivid life. Ellen Mansoor Collier has a knack for describing all the decadence of the era from saloons, to brothels, to dresses, to perfumed lamps. It’s like walking into a magical transporting antique store when reading the author’s descriptions of stuff from the 20s. It made me want to run to the nearest flea market or antique mall to find the cool collectibles she references. In short, these books have basically made me want to ditch my modern life and become a full-time flapper journalist. Ha!

Check out the author’s lovely website HERE and her ETSY shop HERE, where you can browse all sorts of vintage items and fabulous flapper finds!

bathing beauty color

 

Aaand just for fun:

Enjoy this 1920s dance craze montage. It will help you visualize some of the dance moves mentioned in Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNAOHtmy4j0

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Mini Book Review: Grey by E.L. JamesGrey by E.L. James
Series: Fifty Shades of Grey #4
Published by Vintage on June 18th, 2015
Pages: 576
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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See the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey.

In Christian's own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

I thought I was going to devour this in a day. It took me FOUR AND A HALF DAYS to read this book. I also thought that it was going to span the entire trilogy. I was wrong. This only spans the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey. Sigh..while I did enjoy reading it, it was just not enough for me. For some reason I thought it might be a bitc raunchier coming from Christian’s POV. It wasn’t really.

Oh well, it was nice to get in to his head and see what he was thinking at critical points in the first book. We also got to learn a bit more about Elena and a couple of his past subs. I think the best part of the entire book was the last 10-15%. View Spoiler »

I’ve been hearing that we’re going to get Darker from his POV too, but we probably will not get Freed. I know I will read anything E.L. James gives us from the Grey universe..but instead of reading Darker/Freed from his POV, I would much rather read AFTER Freed from his POV. Ana’s pregnancy. I think that would be interesting to see through his eyes. He’s so overprotective of Ana before she was pregnant, I can’t imagine how he is during her pregnancy. His anxiety is probably through the roof during her pregnancy. I think it’d be interesting to see him mentally prepare for fatherhood with Ana helping him realize that HE CAN BE A GOOD FATHER.

What are you thoughts on Grey? What would you like to see from Christian’s POV? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Book Review: Pucked by Helena HuntingPucked on May 3rd, 2015
Pages: 380
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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With a famous NHL player for a step-brother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation many hockey stars come with. She’s smart enough to steer clear of those hot, well-built boys with unparalleled stamina. That is until she meets the legendary team captain—Alex Waters.

Violet isn’t interested in his pretty, beat-up face, or his rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s previous misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes more than just a hot body with a face to match.

In what can only be considered a complete lapse in judgment, Violet finds out just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. But what starts out as a one-night stand, quickly turns into something more. Post-night of orgasmic magic, Alex starts to call, and text, and e-mail and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts, making him difficult to ignore, and even more difficult not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

I have to admit, this is the first Helena Hunting book I’ve read and I am NOT DISAPPOINTED. I’m always looking for a book that will give me a good giggle and I definitely found it in this book! This book is LAUGH OUT LOUD hilarious.  It’s also got a little bit of sweet and a little bit of sexy going on in this book.

I am so glad I decided to check it out. Half way through I texted Melanie and told her that she NEEDED to check this book out. We both love a good laugh when it comes to our romances and I knew she’d love this one.

Violet is recently out of college and working as a junior account for a PR firm that specials in Sports Financial Management. Her stepdad Sidney is a scout for the NHL, her stepbrother plays for the NHL, and she’s straight surrounded by hockey.

Alex Waters is the captain for the Hawks, a professional hockey team. He’s a little nerdy and is well-versed in English Lit.

The characters in this book are great. I thought they were all very entertaining in their own right.

Violet is quirky and has no brain to mouth filter. She says whatever she’s thinking and a lot of it is down right dirty. I can be a bit inappropriate at times with my humor too, so with all the dirty talk in this book I wasn’t bothered a all.

I really enjoyed Alex too; I think he’s a bit more tame compared to Violet, but he could dish out as well. There was a part or two when he was being a dumbass, but he’s a boy and it’s expected! As we all know boys can be stupid,  it always takes a hard lesson for them to learn! Alex definitely learns his in this book.

Buck, he’s not really all that deep, but when he was around he added even more hilarity to the book. Him and Violet may only be his step siblings, but he treats her like she’s blood. He was very overprotective of her at times and it was very sweet.

I think Helena should make this a series and give us books for Violet’s brother, Buck, her BFF Charlene and Darren?! I would love to see more of all of these characters!!

This book really entertained me and underneath the toilet humor it was a very sweet romance. If you’re a fan of books like the Chocolate Lovers series by Tara Sivec check this book out! I think you’ll enjoy it. 😉

 

 

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Monarch Madness: His Last Mistress by Andrea Zuvich Review + GIVEAWAY!His Last Mistress by Andrea Zuvich
Published by Self Published on July 5, 2013
Pages: 206
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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This story charts the tragic romance between the dashing but doomed James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and the virtuous Lady Henrietta Wentworth. Monmouth, eldest illegitimate son of King Charles II, is already married and infamous for his womanising ways. Henrietta is engaged to another. Despite the dangers, Henrietta finds she cannot resist him. When his father dies, the malleable Monmouth falls prey to schemes, plots and rebellion that will surely lead to the Tower.

His Last Mistress is a passionate, sometimes explicit, carefully researched and ultimately moving story of love and loss, set against a backdrop of dangerous political unrest, brutal religious tensions, and the looming question of who will be the next King.

MEReadALOT's Monarch Madness Blog Hop

I’m wrapping up my Monarch Madness posts this weekend!

Today I’m reviewing and posting a GIVEAWAY of Andrea Zuvich’s intoxicating novel, His Last Mistress.

You will fall madly in love with this book if you are a fan of The Seventeenth Century, political intrigue, court gossip, romance, and betrayal.

His Last Mistress follows the passionate love affair between the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of King Charles II, and Henrietta Wentworth, a Lady of the court who is doomed to a loveless marriage until she catches the eye of Monmouth.

To my knowledge, I had never read anything about this romantic duo until His Last Mistress, and I loved being introduced to characters who are usually left to the peripheral of the historical eye. This Historical Romance/Biographical Fiction elegantly mixes in well researched facts with the author’s captivating storytelling. Fans of general Historical Fiction and die-hard Merry Monarch fans will both be swept up in this tragic tale.

I enjoyed the pace of the novel and was wholly entertained by the two main characters. His Last Mistress is full of fist-biting moments both in and out of the bedroom. ENTER BELOW TO WIN an EBOOK of His Last Mistress, and stop by Andrea Zuvich’s wonderful website: The Seventeenth Century Lady. Seriously. Her website is a dream for History lovers of this era.

william-and-mary

 

About the Author

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I’m a 17th-Century historian, specialising in the Late Stuart period, with an emphasis on the reign of William and Mary (1689-1702). I live in Windsor, England.

I studied at Rockledge High School, from which I received my Diploma, then Brevard Community College where I obtained my Associate’s Degree in History, and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa honour society. I went on to study at the University of Central Florida, where I obtained two Bachelor’s degrees – one in Anthropology and one in History. I then continued my education in history online through the University of Oxford, Princeton University, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Since graduating in 2008, I have been independently researching the 17th-century – a time I have always loved and had a keen interest in, and that passion has turned into this website and my work in historical fiction and history articles.

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Visit Andrea’s website and get your EBook SIGNED via the Authorgraph on the right side of her page!

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Until July by Aurora Rose ReynoldsUntil July by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Series: Until Her #1
on April 13th, 2015
Pages: 238
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Wes Silver wasn’t looking for love, but when July Mayson literally knocks him on his ass during their first encounter, his world is turned upside down by the quirky blonde, and every moment with her makes him more determined to protect her.

July Mayson doesn’t understand the pull she feels toward the bad boy biker Wes Silver, but she knows being with him is like nothing she’s ever felt before. Now all she has to do is tell her overprotective father, Asher Mayson, that she’s found her boom.

I don’t even know where I want to start with this… This isn’t a typical review or anything. It’s more of me going on about what didn’t make sense in the story… So I have to warn you that it has spoilers..so don’t read on if you haven’t read the book and you do not want to be spoiled.

I just had a conversation with my mother over this book. She was smart and re-read the Until series before starting this book. I started talking to her about Until July going on about how  I thought that it was missing a bunch of details. At least, that’s what I think. She told me that she found that Until July was a lot more well written and edited compared to the Until series.

There were a few things that bothered me about this story and I’m about to list them off in no particular order.

1. When writing a spin off series about the offspring of couples you’ve already written about. You should not make pop culture references. I’m assuming, due to the use of cell phones (with pictures) in Until November  that November and Asher’s story takes place in this century. Fast forward 26 years and July has her own book and she’s “seeing” Fifty Shades of Grey in the Fall (September-ish). Do children in bookish words age 20+ years in a matter of 5 minutes like they do in the Soap Operas? O_o

2. WHAT THE HELL DOES JAX HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING? There was like NO DETAILS as to what the hell he does for a living. All we know is that he sticks is nose into illegal goings-ons and he apparently does not work for any of the authorities. Unless he does and no one knows? I don’t know. All I know is that he’s asking Wes for help trying to intercept some girls that have been taken for trafficking and getting them away from the bad people.

3. Speaking of Wes, Even HE said they don’t want to get in to anything illegal. They’re not all SAMCRO running guns and shit… They’re just a bunch of veteran bikers who own a Motorcycle Parts/Shop. Are they secretly COMMANDO bikers doing the bidding for people?

I don’t know, I think I might be a tad confused?! I know there were a few other things that irritated me about this story but I can’t think of them now… What did you like or not like about this story?’

This story was alright, I liked it enough to not DNF it. I just think it could have been a LOT better. I’ll probably still read the next one in the series when it comes out. We’ll see.

 

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Review: Girl Underwater by Claire KellsGirl Underwater by Claire Kells
Published by Dutton Books on March 31st, 2015
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

I honestly can’t pinpoint how I actually feel about this book. I feel like I’m all over the place on the love/hate spectrum with this one because I loved most of it, but then I got to the ending and after reading it I was left feeling disappointed and possibly confused.This book is about Avery, a college swimmer who goes home for Thanksgiving when her plane crashes over the Rocky’s. The story flashes back and forth between the crash/immediate aftermath of the crash and the present where Avery is dealing with  post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the crash. Avery is one of 5 survivors, the five others being Collin, a fellow swimmer/teammate and 3 little boys. They all play a role in Avery’s recovery and emotional healing process. There is a romance between Avery and Collin but for most of the story it’s uncertain. Also, Avery has Lee her college boyfriend, so there’s that little detail.

I’d say that everything about the crash and what Avery experienced after the crash was written very well, and with all the aviation incidents happening today this story seemed more real then I imagine it would have otherwise. I felt pretty in tune with what Avery was experiencing and how she acted/reacted made total sense to me for the majority of the story. The ending however seemed to spin things off track and I got a little confused. I was disappointed that a story that was so good throughout had a confusing ending that I would comfortably call dull. I wanted more.

Overall, the premise was intriguing and promising, but by the end I felt disappointed and underwhelmed. If the ending were executed better I might give this one a 4.5.

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About Claire Kells

Claire Kells was born outside Philadelphia and has lived in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco since graduating from Princeton University in 2005. An English major, she didn’t start writing fiction until her first year of medical school. Now a second-year resident, she spends her free time writing stories about love, loss, and adventure.

GIRL UNDERWATER is her first novel.

Fever (Parallon #1) by Dee ShulmanFever by Dee Shulman
Series: Parallon #1
Published by Penguin Books, Razorbill on April 5, 2012
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Amazon
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Two worlds. Two millennia. One love . . .

A fearless Roman gladiator.

A reckless twenty-first-century girl.

A mysterious virus unites them . . .

An inventive love story between a teenage gladiator from 152 AD and a 21st-century girl. They both contract a virus that enables them to time-travel, with electrifying results.

The Parallon Trilogy trailer from Dee Shulman’s website:

I really liked this book. On top of the eye-catching, must-own cover, the love story at the heart of Fever was beautifully woven in and out of the past and present.

Kind of how I imagined Eva.
Kind of how I imagined Eva.

 

The first part of Fever takes place in present day London with our female protagonist, Eva. Eva is characterized as a girl who is too smart for her own good. Bored by the public school system, Eva hacks one too many computers and is expelled. After this series of unfortunate events,  Eva is promptly enrolled in an exclusive private school that will allow her to indulge her love of science. This is where things start to get Doctor Who-style weird.

Below are some ruins from the day of Roman Londinium.

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The past part of Fever takes place with heroic gladiator, Seth, in Londinium- Roman occupied London from the year 152 AD. I really fell in love with his part of the story and lost myself in it so much that when things would revert back to Eva’s time, I was a little annoyed.

How I imagined Seth Leontis, OF COURSE.
How I imagined Seth the Gladiator, OF COURSE.

But when Eva and Seth’s paths cross because of a scientific fluke, I was completely taken in. I really enjoyed their stories unfolding together. The pacing of the story was a little slow, but well worth the wait by the time we have Seth and Eva together.

The world building of Londinium was really well done and the author does an awesome job of submerging the reader in both present and past. If you’ve seen the film The Gladiator starring Russell Crow, you will be able to visualize Londinium well.

All of the scientific aspects were really interesting and not too far fetched, in my opinion. The secondary characters were fun, although I think a lot of scenes could have been cut involving them to make the story more concise. Overall, I felt fully invested in this story after the first book and I would definitely read it again despite the slow pacing. It was a refreshing read, and not like anything I’ve read recently.

And just for fun:

Your Welcome.
You’re Welcome.
You're Welcom x 2.
You’re Welcom x 2.
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Blog Tour: Forked by Melanie Harlow

Blog Tour: Forked by Melanie HarlowForked by Melanie Harlow
Series: Frenched #2
on October 20th, 2014
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
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Twenty-eight year old Coco Thomas knows the recipe for disaster:

1) Agree to plan last-minute engagement blowout for spoiled Mafia princess before you realize her choice of caterer is Nick Lupo, a despicably gorgeous young chef with a hot new restaurant in town, a reality TV show victory, and a romantic past with you—one that did not end well.

2) Strike a deal with Nick in which you agree to spend a weekend with him in exchange for his services, under the strict conditions there will be no talking about the past, no second chances, and definitely no sex.

3) Violate all three conditions within 24 hours and spend two glorious days remembering what made you fall for the sexy, egotistical bastard in the first place, and why it hurt so much when he broke your heart.

Add one road trip, plenty of good scotch, and endless spoonfuls of chocolate cake batter drizzled over your body and licked off inch by oh-my-God-yes-right-there inch, then just admit it.

You’re totally FORKED.

If you’ve read a Melanie Harlow book you’ll notice that her books take place in Detroit. I asked Melanie, who is also from Detroit, to give us a list of 5 places in Detroit and tell us what she loves about them. She not only did this, but she also gave us the connections that these places have with her books as well! 😉

Five places you have to check out the next time you’re visiting Detroit

by Melanie Harlow

OK, this is hard but here are 5 places I really love, in no particular order. Since I love a good cocktail, this list has a theme…

 

  1. The Detroit City Distillery: http://detroitcitydistillery.com/

 

This distillery and tasting room is located in Detroit’s Eastern Market, which is one of the coolest places in the city. I love the history and the local produce and the revival that’s taking place there. The guys that opened the Detroit City Distillery were really inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Detroit during Prohibition—and you know I love that!

 

What I sip there: The Brown Derby, made with their Two Faced Bourbon. Yum.

 

Connection to my books: The Speak Easy series mentions Eastern Market, and Joey’s house is located in that area.


 

2.  Two James Spirits: http://twojames.com/

 

Two James was the first licensed distillery in Detroit since Prohibition. How cool is that? Plus it’s located in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood and home to a lot of Irish immigrants. Corktown is experiencing an incredible renaissance now—tons of great places to eat, drink, and hang out, including the tasting room at Two James.

 

What I sip there: Two James Old Cockney gin is amazing!

 

Connection to my books: In Forked, Coco and Nick share the five-spirit tasting flight at Two James. She’s also a fan of the Grass Widow Bourbon!


 

3. The Sugar House: http://www.sugarhousedetroit.com/

 

Also located in Corktown, this little craft cocktails bar often has a wait to get in, but the bartenders know their stuff. Plus they all look like a young Daniel Day Lewis as Abe Lincoln but with tattoos.

 

What I sip there: The Queen Anne’s Revenge

 

Connection to my books: In Yanked, Mia, Coco, and Erin meet for drinks at The Sugar House. (I deleted the actual scene from the final book, but they do mention meeting there!)


 

4. Cliff Bell’s: http://www.cliffbells.com/

 

Probably my favorite spot in the entire city. This was an old speakeasy, and when the current owners reopened it, they kept the 1930s vibe. From the moment you walk in, you feel transported. They have live jazz on stage (I never miss The Hot Club of Detroit) and serve delicious food too. The French fries are divine! Also, this sounds weird but I love the ladies room there…it’s a lounge with little seats at vanity mirrors. So old-fashioned.

 

What I sip there: champagne sometimes, usually followed by a gin martini.

 

Connection to my books—the decor inspired the club I created for The Speak Easy series.


 

5. Roast: http://www.roastdetroit.com/

 

This fancypants restaurant in the historic Book Cadillac Hotel (now a Westin) is pretty pricey, so I usually sit at the bar and enjoy a couple small plates and a drink or two. Mr. Harlow and I spent our 10th anniversary here this year, and the hotel upgraded us to a suite. I was fancypants for a night!

 

What I sip there: a glass of red wine from their incredible list. Maybe a Chateauneuf du Pape in honor of Lucas and Mia!

 

Connection to my books—none, really. I’ll have to get on that…look for it in Floored!

Erin’s Review

Another great book from Melanie! Coco Thomas is Mia’s (from Frenched) best friend and business partner. Mia is in the middle of finalizing her wedding details so Coco takes over managing their event planning business. Coco is currently living with her parents and is drooling over a house she can’t really afford. In order to make enough money for a down payment on said house, Coco takes on a job planning an engagement party for a Mafia Princess. Little does she know that this job will take her back into the arms of her ex, the man who broke her heart, Nick Lupo.

Nick and Coco got together in college (Go State!) and were together for most of their college career. They made a spontaneous decision that instead bringing them closer together like expected, it instead caused Nick to leave Coco. After reading his reasons, I can understand why, but he could’ve handled it better or at least TALKED TO COCO before he did what he did. They probably both would’ve came out of that whole situation still together if they had.  But it’s alright, because it looks as maybe it was good for both of them that it did happen that way. They went off and grew up, found their places in the world. When Fate was ready she brought them back together and showed them that they belonged together, just 7 years later than either of them thought.

While Coco may have irritated me a bit through out the story, I still enjoyed the book. Though honestly, I always expect the characters to irritate me at some point.
I think what I liked most about the book was Nick Lupo and his connection to Tiny & Joey from Melanie’s other book series, Speak Easy. I really LOVED that series and I was so glad that they got a little part in this story line. It was like having an extended Epilogue for the Speak Easy series that you didn’t expect! It was a wonderful surprise. But back to Nick..honestly..there is nothing hotter than an Italian man that can cook..and bake. YUM, I would love to bake with him! Especially when it got down to licking the cake batter off the spoon, er thigh? Ok! Count me in!

I enjoyed this story and I think you will too. Though I do suggest that you read  Speak Easy first, so you can meet Nick’s ancestors who are mentioned in this story. 😉 Also, don’t forget to check out FRENCHED, the first book in this series, if you haven’t already! 😉

 

The Frenched Series

 Frenched (Book #1) - My Review Add to Goodreads Amazon |
Frenched (Book #1)
My ReviewAdd to Goodreads
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  Yanked (Book #1.5)    Add to Goodreads    Buy Now: Amazon | B&N
Yanked (Book #1.5)
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Forked (Book #3)
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Floored (Book #4)
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About Melanie Harlow

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

One Night: Promised by Jodi Ellen MalpasOne Night: Promised by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Series: The One Night Trilogy #1
Published by Hachette Book Group on August 5th, 2014
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon, Purchased by Reviewer
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ONE NIGHT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH . . .

Livy notices him the moment he walks into the coffee shop. He's heart-stoppingly stunning, with a blue-eyed gaze so piercing she's almost too distracted to take his order. When he walks out the door, she thinks she'll never see him again. Then she finds the note he left on his napkin . . . signed M.

All he wants is one night to worship her. No feelings, no commitment, nothing but pleasure. Every defense mechanism Livy has adopted during her solitary life is at risk of being obliterated by this confounding man. He's obnoxious but well-mannered. He's a gentleman but aloof. He's passionate but emotionless. Yet the fascination is so powerful, Livy can't deny him . . . or herself.

M awakens something in Livy, something deep and addictive that she never knew existed-and that she fears only he can satisfy. But she senses that behind the fast cars, fancy suits, and posh apartment, he's aching inside. To have him, body and soul, she'll have to brave his dark secrets. Delving into his world and breaking down his defenses become her obsession-an obsession that could shatter her heart beyond repair . .

I’m currently on vacation visiting a friend who lives in NYC… I started reading One Night Promised when we were in the for the night last night. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I was up until 5am reading and then I finally forced myself to go to bed. The second I was up today I dove right back in to the book instead of going out into the city of NY to wander. That’s saying something. 😉

Olivia, otherwise known as Livy, is a 24 year old woman who just started working a bistro, she cannot master the cappuccino machine to save her life.  She could be annoying at times, but when learning more about her and her secrets you start to understand where she’s coming from.

I really loved Livy’s Grandmother, whom she lives with, she was cute and entertaining. Her Nan did all she could to try and get her granddaughter to break out her carefully crafted shell and live her life. It takes making a bad cup of coffee for a dark haired, blue eyed stranger to  cause Livy’s shell to crack.

I LOVE MILLER. He’s a quirky hot guy. He may seem like perfection, but really he has his flaws and his secrets too. Boy, I did NOT expect his secret to be what it was.. JEM really surprised me with his dirty secret. After learning more about Livy’s past, I think Livy’s reaction when learning about Miller’s profession was a little hypocritical, though now that I’m thinking about it..I guess I can’t blame her either after learning more about her mommy issues.

November is too far away! I can’t wait to see where JEM will take Livy and Miller in the next book. Will she get over her issue with Miller? Will we learn more about Miller in the next book? What about William? I can’t wait for One Night: Denied!

More questions I have for the next book (will spoil, hence why I put these ones behind the spoiler alert!)

View Spoiler »

 

 

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About Jodi Ellen Malpas

Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion – a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

Book Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuireBeautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire
Series: Maddox Brothers #1
Published by Atria Books on July 1st, 2014
Pages: 337
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon, Purchased by Reviewer
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The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

“In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.”

It pretty much was like re-reading Beautiful Disaster, only with a different clueless girl and another Maddox brother being pushed into the friend zone. Oh let’s not forget the clueless girl’s clueless roommate and her relationships as well. I wanted to punch both girls in the throat.

This book was pretty ‘meh’ for the first half of the book..and then it finally started getting interesting..though not really all THAT interesting. One of the few good things going for this book is that it starts out right before Travis meets Abby, so you get to see a little bit of that relationship developing from the outside but not too much.  Cami has a secret and she doesn’t want Trenton to know because she thinks he’ll walk away from her when he finds out. Throughout this book I didn’t know what to expect when we finally learned of Cami’s secret and then at the end Jamie McGuire totally bitchslaps you in the face with something you didn’t even see coming. Seriously, I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. So kudos to Jamie for giving us that totally unexpected ending.

So if you do want to experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster again, I definitely suggest you read this book.  😉

I will be honest after the way this book ended, I’m definitely going to be checking out the next book in the series to see what the hell is going on.

One last thing…I just realized the synopsis says that Cami is the baby sister to four rowdy brothers..That’s not true, SHE’S THE OLDEST OUT OF THEM ALL. How can she be the baby if she’s the oldest? Huh.

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About Jamie McGuire

Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.

Her 2012 novel, Walking Disaster™ debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She has also written bestselling contemporary romance Beautiful Disaster™, and the Providence™ series. Her latest books include an apocalyptic thriller, Red Hill™ and a novella, A Beautiful Wedding™.

Jamie now lives on a ranch just outside Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 30 acres with six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.

Book Review: Breathe With Me by Kristen ProbyBreathe With Me by Kristen Proby
Series: With Me in Seattle #7
Published by Ampersand Publishing on June 24th, 2014
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon, Purchased by Reviewer
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Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time… 

Mark Williams has loved Meredith since he was seventeen. A successful man with a strong family, he’s worked hard to move on from Meredith breaking his heart all those years ago. When his path crosses with the only woman he’s ever loved again years later, Mark knows there is nothing he won’t do to keep her in his life. But when the going gets tough, will Meredith stick around or will he lose her again? 

…But true love has a way of finding its way back. 

Meredith Summers is a dancer. One of the first things she learned in following her dreams is that timing is everything. She has spent the past ten years following her dream touring with mega-stars while trying to forget the high school sweetheart she left behind. Now she’s back in Seattle, running a successful dance studio with her best friend Jax and determined to move on from her gypsy past. Until the day she sees Mark Williams and time stands still. It’s as if no time has passed at all when Meredith finds herself in Mark’s arms again. The chemistry, the bonds and the love are as strong as ever and hearing Mark whisper breathe with me in her ear is a balm to her wounded soul. But will she grab onto this second chance at love, or is the timing all wrong for them again? 

Don't miss catching up with the Montgomery and Williams clans in this latest installment of the With Me In Seattle Series from New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Proby. 

“There were days that I would have exchanged a year of my life just to touch you one more time.” –Mark Williams 

You guys… this book didn’t piss me off like Tied With Me did. THANK GOD. I actually enjoyed this book a lot better than Tied With Me, but if you’ve read my rant with Tied With Me, you’ll know that it hit a sore spot for me… so.. yeah.

Breathe With Me is a second chance romance. Mark and Meredith were High School Sweethearts with plans of moving to New York City. That is, until Meredith decided to pursue her dreams on her own and breaking Mark’s heart. When I read that scene I shook my fist and started calling her names. Why does one leave the person they’re so much in love with? I cried for her and for Mark when she did that. I understand now why Mark turned into playboy. It’s hard to fall in love with someone when another already possesses your heart. I’m so glad that fate brought them back together again. When M & M meet again, it’s under sad circumstances, but it was like no time had passed at all between them.

While I liked this book a lot more than the last one, My mother (who actually discovered this series when the first one came out and suggested that I read it.) and I both agree that it’s not as good as the first so many in the series. Unfortunately that’s usually what happens when there’s quite a few books in a series. Oh well!  It’s not a bad book, so I hope that doesn’t keep you from reading this book..I just wanted to inform you to not expect greatness while reading it.  I’m hoping that Dominic’s book will be better. We shall see!

 

Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

“If she ever tries to leave me, I’m going with her. This life doesn’t work without her.”  – Luke referring to his wife, Natalie.

 

“I still think of her as mine. After all this time, when I think of Meredith, she’s my Meredith.
Irrational? Yes. 

Stupid? Most definitely. 
But I don’t give a fuck.”  – Mark Williams

 

“We’re not friends, Mark,” I reply sadly. “We’re strangers with memories.”  – Meredith Summers to Mark Williams 

 

“There were days … that I would have exchanged a year of my life just to touch you one more time. You are my biggest what if.”  – Mark Williams to Meredith Summers

One last thing before I go…. I can’t be the only who finds the Cover Models kind of ugly…. or am I? Hmmm!

The With me in Seattle Series:

Book #1
(Book #1)

Book #1.5
(Book #1.5)

Book #2
(Book #2)

Book #3
(Book #3)

Book #4
(Book #4)

Safe With Me (Book 5)
(Book 5)

Tied With Me (Book 6)
(Book 6)

breathe
(Book 7)

 

 

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About Kristen Proby

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.
Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.
Tied With Me by Kristen ProbyTied With me by Kristen Proby
Series: With Me in Seattle #6
Published by Ampersand Publishing on March 18th, 2014
Pages: 264
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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A man whose lifestyle is so different from her own… Nic Dalton’s cupcake bakery is thriving. She serves both rock stars and locals alike, content with her growing business. But one adventurous night out with her best friend, Bailey, turns her life upside down. She meets a handsome stranger who makes her skin sizzle and her heart race. Their one night together is explosive and unexpected, but when he has to suddenly leave without taking her phone number, Nic resigns herself to never seeing him again. …What will it take to trust and submit to his every desire? Matt Montgomery is one of Seattle’s finest. He works hard, loves and protects his family fiercely, and is loyal almost to a fault. And he has a penchant for bondage. Matt enjoys the way a woman looks wrapped up in his ropes, and makes no apologies for his preferences. When he meets Nic at a fetish festival, the small, beautiful woman catches his eye, drawing him to her. His one night with her was everything he’s ever looked for in a partner, but is cut short because of a family emergency. Even before he sees her again weeks later, he knows he’ll never get her out of his system. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make her his. “Give in to this, Nic. Let me prove to you that I will be one of the best decisions you ever make.” –Matt Montgomery

Erin’s Review… or is it a Rant?

Ok this will probably be more of a rant rather than a review. Also, this will contain spoilers so if you haven’t read the book yet..you might not want to read this until after you’re done with the book.

This book started out good and I did enjoy it for the most part. But you don’t really learn ANYTHING about Nic Dalton in this book. You only learn that she’s from Wyoming, isn’t really close with her family, owns her own bakery and has diabetes AND Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.. That’s it. You don’t learn anything about her family history that makes us understand why she’s the way she is..which is always needs to be in control of everything, and not to depend on other people, etc.. I mean, something had to have happened for her to turn out that way..but what? I guess we’ll never know..

Also, As someone who has PCOS herself, I was shocked to come across a character with the same condition I have. I thought I was going to totally relate with her on the PCOS thing…but I didn’t. With the exception of her having issues with her weight when she was younger. It doesn’t even seem like she has all the other fun stuff that comes with PCOS!  For example, Hirsutism and Androgenic Alopecia. In simple terms BODY HAIR and thinning of your hair(on the head). It seems that the hair on your head decides to migrate to other parts of your body for some of us with PCOS and it SUCKS BALLS.  Yes, I know that there’s worse things than dealing with body hair and going bald..but to most females, APPEARANCES ARE EVERYTHING.  I’m not even going to go in to my rants about the joys of my pcos symptoms..it’s depressing enough as it is..I don’t need to dwell on it in a book review/rant post..

According to Nic she’s been advised NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN because of her PCOS. I have NEVER heard of anyone being told they SHOULDN’T have kids because of PCOS.. Most women with PCOS will have DIFFICULTY with conceiving without fertility help.. I have also never heard of someone having PCOS and Diabetes. If NIC has both of these, then she should definitely being taking medication. Which according to this book she is not on any sort of medication. You want to know what I’m supposed to be taking for my PCOS? GLUCOPHAGE (or Metformin). Which is what regulates Diabetics insulin levels. MY PCOS causes my body to produce TOO MUCH insulin, which in turns causes my body to make more testosterone than estrogen etc. So if Nic does have both PCOS and Diabetes, she should be taking something to regulate her insulin levels.
I might be wrong..maybe there are some people out there who shouldn’t have kids with their PCOS. I’ve just never heard of it and I always though maybe diabetes is something you end up having as a result of PCOS. I just didn’t know you could have both at once. I don’t have diabetes (yet) so it just seemed weird to me.

Alright well back to the actual book and story. I just think that this book was missing a lot of details.

Kristen didn’t really give us any explanation as to what Shibari is. I’m on wikipedia at the moment looking to see what kind of bondage it is. In case you’re wondering it’s Japanese Bondage. It looks like it’s really called Kinbaku and Shibari is just another word for it. Shibari (縛り) is a Japanese word that literally means “to tie” or “to bind”.

Like I said before there’s also not a whole lot of details about NIC and her past. In the other With Me in Seattle books I recall getting  a little bit more background information on the characters. But in this book it seems to be missing. Oh well, overall it was an alright read but it’s definitely not my favorite book from this series. I hope that the next book in the With Me in Seattle series, Breathe With Me, will be better.

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About Kristen Proby

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.
Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.
12 Days of Reviews and Giveaways: The Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Trilogy by C.J. ArcherThe Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Trilogy by C.J. Archer
Series: The Emily Chambers Spirit Medium Trilogy
Published by Self Published on April 24, 2013
Pages: 556
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Seventeen year-old spirit medium Emily Chambers has a problem. Actually, she has several. As if seeing dead people isn't a big enough social disadvantage, she also has to contend with an escaped demon and a handsome ghost with a secret past. And then there's the question of her parentage. Being born an entire year after her father's death (yes, a year) and without the pale skin of other respectable English ladies, Emily is as much a mystery as the dead boy assigned to her.

Jacob Beaufort's spirit has been unable to crossover since his death several months ago. It might have something to do with the fact he was murdered. Or it might not. All he knows is, he has been assigned by the Otherworld's administrators to a girl named Emily. A girl who can see and touch him. A girl who released a shape-shifting demon into the mortal realm. Together they must send the demon back before it wreaks havoc on London. It should be a simple assignment, but they soon learn there's nothing simple when a live girl and a dead boy fall in love

Today, I’d like to highlight another one of my favorite C.J. Archer trilogies. The Emily Chambers Spirit Medium trilogy was how I first met C.J. Archer’s writing, and I’ve developed quite a love affair with it since. C.J’s tales of Victorian Era England never fail to sweep me away in grand fashion. If you are planning to read C.J.’s Freak House trilogy, then reading her Medium trilogy before hand will make Freak House that much more enjoyable. There are some fun tie-ins. You can read my short and sweet shout out to The Emily Chamber’s trilogy below, and enter to win the trilogy in E-book format. This review was originally posted here. Enjoy!

 

This is a short and sweet shout out to C.J. Archer’s Spirit Medium Trilogy published last year. It’s been a while since I read these books, but felt like they deserved a rec since I will be reviewing her latest book, The Wrong Girl soon.

I’ve always loved the idea of Mediums and things of the seance sort whether in books or film, so last October I went searching for something with that theme in mind. I wanted a lite, easy read that had a spooky element to it. As if on queue, the Emily Chambers Medium trilogy materialized on my Goodreads recommends page. I started the book not expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised.
C.J. Archer takes us to Victorian era London in this series and paints everything from the seances, attitudes, fashions, to the maids in BBC style detail. I could feel soot on my skin while reading her description of the houses and chimney smoke atmosphere. C.J. Archer paves the streets of London in such detailed historical accuracy, that I found myself committed to the trilogy simply for the pleasure of her settings and descriptions. After the first few chapters, I discovered her characters were equally as enthralling and enjoyable.
This series has sleuthing escapades, dark secrets, action packed demon hunting, and plenty of carriage rides steeped in sexual tension to talk about, but I’m just going to introduce you to the two MC’s. Emily Chambers is a 17-year-old beauty with skin the color of coffee and cream. She lives with her spinster sister hosting seances for society women. Unlike her sister, Emily can really communicate with the netherworld and uses her gifts to make a living. She also employs her talents to help her ghostly visitors pass from Limbo and resolve unsettled issues.
Bianca Lawson would fit Emily's character description nicely.
Bianca Lawson would fit Emily’s character description nicely.
Near the beginning of this trilogy, we meet Jacob Beaufort. Jacob is dark, mysterious, handsome and DEAD. He has been  assigned to Emily from the netherworld and has an agenda of his own. In romantic other-worldly fashion, Emily feels drawn to Jacob, but doesn’t know if she can trust him. What if helping him means hurting others? Thus, the “Murder She Wrote” ride and intrigue begin.
I use Ian/Damon Salvatore for most of my male casting in C.J. Archer books, so I thought Henry would be a nice change, and quite fitting for this character.
I use Ian/Damon Salvatore for most of my male casting in C.J. Archer books, so I thought Henry would be a nice change, and quite fitting for this character.

 

This series was fun and  suspenseful, with just the right amount of propriety to keep the romance interesting. I found myself casting actors from the CW’s The Vampire Diaries as characters in these novels, and couldn’t help but enjoy it. I’ll end this review with the paragraphs in book one that made me decide to keep reading:
A man stood on the landing, leaning against the door, his arms crossed over his chest. He looked older than me but not by much, tall, with short dark hair and a face that was a little too square of jaw and sharp cheek to be fashionable. It wasn’t a beautiful face in the classical statue sense, but it was certainly handsome.[……] He wore black trousers, boots and a white shirt but nothing else. No hat, no necktie, jacket or vest, and scandalously, the top buttons of his shirt were undone so that his bare chest was partially visible. [….]“There you are”, he said. I dragged my gaze up to his face and was greeted by a pair of blue eyes….
And maybe you already guessed it, but YES. Jacob screams Damon Salvatore to me. :)

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