Thursday, 12 July 2018

Review: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, 
Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows 
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
My rating:  2.5-3 Stars
Pages: 464
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

My Thoughts:
I loved the first book in this series, My Lady Jane, which tweaked history is an entirely good way.  The actual story is pretty awful, and so the changes were quite welcome.  This second installment, which has nothing to do with the previous story other than it being a famous “Jane”, this time a tweaking of the original Jane Eyre. 

Since I loved the original Jane Eyre and the romance, I can’t say I was thrilled with the changes to the story and romance in this version.  Wasn’t really a romance at all except between Charlotte and Alexander, but that was Highlight for Spoiler left open ended, and I like my romances wrapped up nice and tidy, End of Spoiler so that was disappointing too.  The story was entertaining, the magical elements were fun, and I did have a laugh here and there, because seriously these ladies are very funny! Still, I have to say, the story felt a bit convoluted and went on longer than I would’ve liked.

Helen was an annoying character I could’ve done without, and Jane wasn’t my favorite character either. I enjoyed Charlotte (as in Brontë) and Alexander and their POVs the best.  While I was a bit underwhelmed by this installment I fully intend on picking up the next endeavor of this writing team: My Calamity Jane which promises to have a better ending than the original version. I am all for that!

 2.5-3 Stars


Saturday, 7 July 2018

Box of 20 Books Giveaway!

Hello there! Hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far. It's hotter than Hades in my neck of the woods. Yesterday the high was 118F!! Today the high is a balmy (ha!) 115 degrees, and being outside feels like the inside of an oven.  At any rate, I have a great Big Box of 20 Books to giveaway, so yay!  I've listed the titles below.  Giveaway is open to US Residents only.

(any signed copies are signed to me: Rachel)

Wake by Lisa McMann-Paperback
Fade by Lisa McMann-Hardcover
Gone by Lisa McMann-Hardcover
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris-Hardcover
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson-ARC copy
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson-Hardcover-Signed
In Too Deep by Coert Voorhees-ARC copy
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen-Hardcover
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson-Hardcover-Signed
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge-ARC copy
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons-Paperback
In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody-ARC copy
Dancegirl by Carol M. Tanzman-Paperback-Signed
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater-Paperback-Signed
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater-Paperback-Signed
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West-ARC copy
The Savage Grace by Bree Despain-Hardcover
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain-Hardcover
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain-Hardcover

Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Good luck!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Review & Giveaway: A Touch of Flame by Jo Goodman

A Touch of Flame (The Cowboys of Colorado #2) 
by Jo Goodman
Publication date: June 5th 2018
Publisher: Berkley
My rating:  4 Stars
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
USA Today bestselling author Jo Goodman returns to the gunslinging outlands of A Touch of Frost with a sizzling new romance where the new town doctor learns there's nothing she likes better than a run-in with the law.

Dr. E. Ridley Woodhouse is like no physician Ben Madison has ever met—she's a woman. As the newly elected sheriff of Frost Falls, Colorado, Ben is tasked with welcoming Ridley to the community. But while Ben might be tempted by the new doc's charms, getting the town to accept a big-city, female doctor is no easy feat. To earn their trust she'll have to prove herself and Ben determines to help her...even if she's the most stubborn woman he's ever met.

When the husband of one of Ridley's patients threatens her, forbidding Ridley from treating his wife or children, all of Ben's protective instincts kick in. Ridley has come to rely on Ben's steady presence and the delicious tension that simmers just below the surface of their easy friendship—but as much as she trusts that his warnings to steer clear of Jeremiah Salt are sincere, she's never been one to back down from a challenge and she refuses to abandon her patient.

But sticking to your guns can earn you trouble in the rough terrain of the Wild West, and danger threatens Ridley from unexpected places, forcing Ben to confront his deepest fear in order to save the woman he loves.

My Thoughts:
The fact that E. Ridley Woodhouse, the young doctor that’s come to replace old Dr. Dunlop, is a woman stirs up some gossip, and the town is a little slow accepting a female can be a proper doctor.  Fortunately, Dr. Dunlop enlisted the town’s sheriff, Ben Madison to help Ridley in the transition. He’s well respected, and knows everyone in town, even if he’s completely frustrating at times.  Like relentlessly trying to find out what exactly the “E.” in E. Ridley Woodhouse stands for, lol. And no, it’s not Eureka!

Ben didn’t know Dr. E. Ridley Woodhouse was a woman, and he has no issues with that.  His mother raised him to respect an intelligent woman, but boy, Ridley gets under his skin from the minute she steps off the train! In the best possible way, of course.   The romance was playfully antagonistic.  The teasing between them cute and funny, enough to put a smile on my face.

There’s some prejudice over having a woman doctor especially in view of the time in history, but Ridley proves herself capable and compassionate.  However, treating Lily Salt leads to some trouble with Lily’s husband, Jeremiah Salt.  I hated that awful man!  Ridley proved herself tough and resourceful, but still, the sheer physical size difference and the fact that he was a mean bully just looking for an opportunity to get his pound of flesh set me on edge.  Thankfully, Ridley has quite a few allies when it comes to this difficult and dangerous situation, Ben being the most important.

I thoroughly enjoyed the previous book, A Touch of Frost, and so I was eager to pick up the new installment.  Getting a glimpse of what life what like in the late 1800’s is interesting.  A life without most modern conveniences like indoor plumbing (chamber pots, eeek!) and where the only source of water is a pump in the kitchen sounds a little daunting!  

A Touch of Flame is basically a stand-alone story, some of the events in the last book are recounted because Ben is first introduced there, and his history is important to his character now.  But it’s not necessary to read the previous book to enjoy A Touch of Flame.  I was pleased to “see” Phoebe and Remington (the couple from the previous book) again, and their cute little son, Colt here. The romance between Ben and Ridley is the heart of the story, but it a little danger and suspense makes this a story you don’t want to put down.

Connect with Jo Goodman:

The lovely people of Berkley have generously provided a Paperback Copy of Touch of Flame by Jo Goodman to give away to one reader.  The giveaway is open to US Residents only.  Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Review & Giveaway: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Publisher: NYLA
My rating:  5 Stars
Pages: 406
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both. 

My Thoughts:
As the description points out, Hugh was Roland’s warrior, but has been cast out, cut off from Roland’s magic and when we first meet Hugh here, he’s in bad shape.  Hurting as he was Hugh didn’t fully grasp his Iron Dogs were loyal to him, not Roland.  Now that they’re being hunted down, and murdered Hugh must get himself together, get his Iron Dogs back in fighting shape to meet the threat. 

Elara and Hugh have things each other need to survive, Elara has a castle, food, and supplies Hugh’s Iron Dogs’ desperately need, and Elara needs protection for the people in her keep.  To make their alliance believable they decide to marry. They hate each other on sight, Elara has already heard the rumors of Hugh and expects him to be a terrible man, and Hugh views Elara a cold harpy.  This is a marriage of convenience, but of course I was hoping for it to turn into more! Love-to-hate relationships are so much fun and loved every verbal sparring match between these two!  Really made things heat up! 

Hugh was quite a despicable character in the previous books, so when I first heard there would be a book centering on him I wondered if I could ever view him as the “hero” or like him.  Shouldn’t have worried because Ilona Andrews pulled it off splendidly!  You don’t have to do this because there’s enough information to get the picture, but I did go back and skim through some of the events in Magic Rises (book 6) and Magic Breaks (book 7) to remember exactly what happened with Hugh, Kate, The Pack, and Roland.  Some of his actions seemed unforgivable, but we were only looking at them through Kate’s eyes.  Here we get Hugh’s motivations, and some important insight about Roland’s influence on Hugh here in Iron and Magic.  It made ALL the difference in my opinion of Hugh and I ended up rooting for the guy!

Elara is likeable right off the bat, she’s completely loyal and protective of her people, strong and intelligent in her actions.  Elara is also a person (?) of powerful magic, but she’s a mystery and I look forward to finding out more about her in the coming books.

The fight/battle scenes were exciting, full of danger, and action, and easy to follow.  I was surprised and thrilled by what’s revealed about Hugh, his skills and powers. Elara is a bit of an enigma, not sure what she is yet, but I have some ideas.  When she steps into a fight you take notice, and I was stunned by a certain villain’s reaction to her in the end!

Iron and Magic was fast paced and riveting!  We get Ilona Andrews at their best, and what they’re known for as writers: exciting action, multi-faceted, compelling characters, interesting mythology, and of course my favorite: romance!  I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!


Connect with Ilona Andrews:

I'm giving away a Hardcover Copy of Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews which features Hugh quite prominently.  The giveaway is open to US Residents only.  Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.  

Friday, 15 June 2018

Mini Review & Giveaway: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Ocean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity #2) by Nalini Singh
Publication date: June 12th 2018
Publisher: Berkley
My rating:  4 Stars
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love...

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

My Thoughts:
The last thing Bowen Knight, the head of the Human Alliance, remembers is being shot and falling into the water.  Now awake he realizes he’s not dead but has been saved by the Black Sea clan and is deep below in their habitat in the sea.  His life has been saved, but the chip that shields his mind from Psy attacks is degrading quickly. He only has a few weeks/months left to live if nothing is done.  However, the Black Sea clan doctor has been working on an experimental compound to neutralize the threat.  The chances it’ll work are very slim, but even if he doesn’t make it the data obtained could benefit the rest of the humans with the same problem, and Bowen realizes he must take the risk. Bowen doesn’t think in all this he’d find a woman who’d so completely capture his heart, but Kaia is unique.  She’s everything warm and protective, but she has a mischievous playful side that speaks to the serious Bowen in a way that’s too tempting to resist. 

Ocean Light had so much grabbing my attention!  An intense, but possibly doomed romance, internal threats and betrayals, and a race fix the ticking time bomb in Bowen’s head.  Nalini’s Singh’s writing is captivating and beautiful, playful and sensual, thrilling and exciting!  Ocean Light is the second in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series, but it’s not necessary to read the previous book to enjoy the story.  Loving this series!

Connect with Nalini Singh:

I'm giving away a Hardcover Copy of Ocean Light by Nalini Singh generously provided by the wonderful people at Berkley. The giveaway is open to US residents only.  Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.  Good luck!
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