Review: Night Watch by Linda Hall

Genre: Mystery

Rating: Yay!

NW eBOOK COVERI don’t think I’ve ever read a mystery on a boat, unless you count binge watching NCIS (I don’t). Which, when you think about it, is an awesome place to have a mystery – the whole suspects all in one place scenario. And this story is so good – both in how it’s written and in the story itself.

When Emily Ridge accepts her first captaincy for a deluxe boat, she never expects to find this much trouble abroad. The daughter of eccentric billionaire Roy Patterson goes overboard and is found dead, and from there, Emily’s life spirals down a path that’s a little too familiar for her, as her husband Jesse was killed a few years prior.

This mystery is great – it weaves the mysterious circumstances around Jesse’s death with the girl’s death, and we quickly find out there is a link between the two. I particularly like how much of the lifestyle shone through, as someone who is a complete boat idiot but enjoys a cruise down the river. Getting a peek into how and why someone would want to be a ‘boat bum’ as Emily calls it was awesome.

There’s quite a bit of intrigue in this story, from oddly suspicious people to overly friendly old acquaintances, and that tied with the on-going events unfolding means this is a great read. Each chapter builds the story further and faster, and I found myself resenting having to put down the story to do mundane, real life things. Who wants to cook dinner when there’s a murderer around?

Ahem.

The only thing that gave me a bit of a pause in the story was one particular character, who had a brief past with Emily and instantly raised my suspicious meters. There were one or two instances with this fellow where I felt like Emily, who normally seems pretty logical and smart, flip flops so suddenly it didn’t really feel realistic, which meant I felt like one of the reactions may have been shoehorned in to make the plot fit. It was odd enough that it stuck out to me in an otherwise quite well-written story.

Given the phenomenal rest of the story, I feel the tiny things can certainly be excused under the guise of human foibles. This book freaking rocked, and I really, REALLY want to read the rest of the series.

Night Watch can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Review: Restless in Peaceville

Rating: Yay!

Genre: YA Paranormal

It’s all downs and downs for Luke, who’s been kicked out of the waiting line for heaven because of his choices in life. Instead he gets shipped back to Earth and his reward is becoming a zombie.

I’ll admit I’m not a zombie fan, but Pippa Jay did an amazing job of breathing a new kind of life into paranormal stories, zombies included. A quick read, Restless in Peaceville became a book I couldn’t put down.

There’s some tension, some crazies, a Voodoo Queen, a paranormal killer called The Peacemaker and so much more. Luke also has a sidekick in Annabelle, another zombie. They team up to find a solution that doesn’t involve consuming human flesh, though the choices aren’t easy ones.

This is a first person POV story, set in the town of Peaceville in swamp-filled New Orleans. For an author from across the pond, Pippa did an amazing job of embodying the creole/Cajun South of the area. From the language to the food and the visual imagery. I enjoyed being immersed in the environment and honestly loved the story.

If you’re looking for a good paranormal YA without love triangles and just so good, down home horror monsters overcoming the horror of their situation I highly recommend Restless in Peaceville.

Get your own copy:

Lycaon Press

Amazon 

Amazon UK

Review: Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davies

Genre: Fantasy Noir

Rating: Yay!

Holy smokes, readers, we’ve got a winner here.

This story follows a minotaur detective named Frank and his trusty side kick. And here is why I got hoomissingfin-SW300ked – the story is from the sidekick’s POV. And his helper? None other than an enchanted blade named Rhys, who, if it wasn’t obvious, is also a self-aware blade. It’s such a fresh, different POV that I was immediately intrigued.

It wasn’t just the POV. The story, which follows the disappearance of a young lady’s body (presumably through someone with necromancer skills), gives us a delicious mix-up of noir-style mystery with action-packed situations and an urban fantasy setting, this book beautifully ties all three into an engaging story.

Snarky Rhys the blade can’t help but add his digs in, proverbial and physical, along the way. We snake through Necromancers and attempted suicides, and up through GAOL and through Hightown, which is suffering all sorts of ills thanks to a murderer on the loose.

I don’t want to give too many details away, as it’s how all the bits tie together that make this story really good. In fact, the only quibble I have is that there were a few times where I wish the noir voice had been let up for the sake of simplicity/clarity. I love reading noir, but there were a few times where the character had to go out of his way to explain something that in theory, he shouldn’t have had to, or I had to reread a few times to make sure I understood exactly what was going on.

These were really minor moments in an otherwise stellar novel. I’d happily read more in this world/series. If you like unique voices, or want a fresh take on noir/urban fantasy, then definitely take this book out for a spin.

Missing, Presumed Undead can be found at the following retailers:

Amazon

Satalyte Publishing

Review: Dreaming of the Duke

Dreaming of the DukeGenre: Historical Romance

Rating: YAY!

Eva Devon is a new, hilarious voice in historical romance. This book is the quintessential ‘if it can go wrong, it will’.

Let’s start with the players: Cordelia Eversleigh, Duchess of Hunt. She’s a married virgin who wants to shed her marital status for freedom. There’s the Duke of Hunt, Jack Eversleigh, who’s known for debauching women in a blink an eye and neither caring or bothering to manage his estates or fortune. Secondary players include a take-no-prisoners Dowager Duchess of Hunt, a good-looking, sinful twin brother, and a couple other Dukes I can’t wait to read about.

Now for the plot: There’s shenanigans, a load of them, from all directions and all aimed at the intelligent and surprising Cordelia. Everyone wants her to do something: stay married, submit to seduction, or abandon her husband for greener pastures. It’s also apparent that Cordelia exists as a challenge and to men who can have anything or anyone a challenge is the perfect prescription.  This book covers off on some much crazy and spoke to me because I’m a heroine with more brains than beauty. I love seeing the geek get the guy, and the guy being inspired by her smarts then scared of them. With plenty of conflict amid expectations/responsibilities, coupled with a good shift between challenges for the hero and challenges for the heroine.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. This is the second one in the series and I enjoyed it more than the first. I’d say Devon is building momentum and can’t wait for the Duke to appear. If you want a book with historical elements that will make you laugh and exclaim “what can go wrong now?”, this is the book for you.

Here’s the buy links so you can grab your copy:

Amazon

Amazon Uk

Kobo

iBooks

Barnes and Noble

Review: The Girl

Apologies for being so late on this review. The week has been much less than kind, but that’s no excuse. Onward to the review.

Genre: Urban Fantasy with romance elements
Rating: Yay

When we got the email request to review this book, I jumped on the chance. Not because I loved the writing itself, but because I loved the dialogue that was in the sample. And the story sounded interesting. And thankfully, I was not wrong.

Blaylock’s dialogue is realistic and used in a good way to show and strengthen (or crush) relationships. The story revolves around a cast of characters, all of whom are influenced by the Sanctum in one way or another. Wyatt and Ryker, best friends and Sanctum elite are believable as best friends who have that bond of brotherhood. I think theirs is my favorite relationship, though admittedly my favorite character might be the southern vampire Darby, who is just full of win. She’s snarky and sarcastic and Blanche Devereaux as a vampire and I love her.

*Ahem*

The worldbuilding in this is really solid, too. She does well planting this Sanctum world inside our own while adding her own spin to everything, which plants New York, just for example, in a new light. Creatures like vampires and trolls are walking around freely, shielded by glamours.

One of the few drawbacks to this book is in the writing itself. Mostly, there are overused descriptors (such as Darby’s cold hands), and everyone is unspeakably beautiful. And we’re told that frequently. Sometimes it’s not that noticeable. Sometimes it was just irritating enough to almost throw me out of the narrative. Still, the story was interesting and kept my attention despite the shortcomings in the writing department.

All in all, The Girl is a pretty entertaining story that is worth a read.

The Girl is available at:

Amazon

Review: Pieces of Love by PJ Sharon

Rating: No

Genre: YA Contemporary

Review:

*Warning* This book discusses and deals with marijuana addiction. While I’m aware the substance is slowly being legalized in the United States, like tobacco and other drugs it is still a drug with addictive attributes.

Pieces of Love left me… with a ton of pieces. I’m really having a difficult time coming up with how I felt about this book. I’ll say it’s definitely a coming of age story and fits into the YA genre. The challenge with this book is that the main character, Alexis, doesn’t have a lot of conflict. The antagonist of the story is really her grief and loss, which can be difficult to pull off.

Alexis deals with her grief by smoking pot and avoiding responsibility. I’m familiar with this type of attitude because I experienced something similar in high school. The problem is that Alexis was the one stopping Alexis, and this kind of empty conflict with the main character lashing out at her stepfather, grandmother, and anyone else offering a ‘wise word’ got old. I wanted to see growth or see her truly hit a black moment and I kept searching for it.

When the seemingly ‘black moment’ came, I didn’t really feel like the situation was the worst thing that could happen to her. Yet, it was enough to give me a good case of happy thoughts and wrap up the story. Now character wise, Sharon provides a good cast of different folks to liven up Alexis’s world, but I had a hard time seeing them through Alexis’ eyes. This whole book is in first person POV and we never leave Alexis’ head. Her snark, negative, grief filled mind drowns out the happiness, and there were points I wanted to pull my hair out because I could not sympathize with her attitude.

If you enjoy learning about far off places the author provides a great picture of the Mediterranean and life on a cruise ship. There are also several brief history lessons, but for me these slowed the pacing of the story and I found myself skimming them.  I enjoyed the author’s knowledge, but it sacrificed chances to give the story more angst.

Overall, I found myself going through the motions with this book instead of getting lost in the Alexis’s life and the adventure she was on. The budding love story, her personal bad habits, and the long winding road of her grief spiral didn’t grab me like I hoped, but other’s may find a kindred soul in Alexis, a girl trying to find her way.

If you want to read it for yourself, snag a copy of Pieces of love at:

Amazon 

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Review: Prudence and the Professor – Mari’s Take

 

Genre: Historical Steampunk Romance

Rating: Yay!

 

Ho boy, this book. I am practically wiggling in my seat about this one.

Prudence for print -with trim -300 dpi -CMYK The story is SUCH a delicious mix of romance and steampunk set in the Civil War era. Determined to carve a life out for herself after being tragically widowed by the war, Prudence takes a job in remote Montana for Professor Gerritt Rhinehart. Gerritt is a smartypants inventor whose ideas might turn the war in the North’s favor.

Prudence was such a great lead character. Smart and strong, but thankfully lacking the bullheadedness that leads to certain trouble. I always wonder how such smart women in romances can make so many dumb moves, and I am extremely happy to say none of that happened here.

The interplay between Prudence and Gerritt is both sweet and sultry. There were a few times where I would have liked some more indepth interplay, as I felt there was rehashing without new territory covered, but overall it wasn’t extensive enough to really bother me.

A cast of sidekicks keeps the story rolling. Hands down favorite was Alma, the smart-mouthed cook Gerritt employs, and who feels it’s completely appropriate to offer sexual advice to Prudence. I laughed so much when she was about.

Gerritt, by contrast, is both smart and sexy, and I really enjoyed having a bookishly smart man as the main love interest. Not every man needs to be some war chieftain carrying off his woman. Because of his smarts and apparently delicious bum –ahem!- I found myself wishing for so much more time in his head because it was so enjoyable.

Overall, this romance is a sweet, enjoyable twist on western romances, with the goody goodies, the bad baddies, and of course, nifty devices. A wonderful fast read perfect for an afternoon where you just want a good story.

 

Sibelle Stone is the pseudonym for award-winning romance author Deborah Schneider. As Deborah she writes Western and Americana romance novels. As Sibelle Stone she writes historical romance with paranormal elements (things like magic, witches and evil Druids), and steampunk with incredible machines. It’s the same person, but with two different sides.
Both Sibelle and Deborah reside in a small town near the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. Deborah is employed by one of the busiest libraries in the country in a job that involves arranging programs with authors, storytellers, musicians, dancers and jugglers. Deborah received the Romance Writers of America Librarian of the Year Award in 2009.
Visit Sibelle at www.sibellestone.com, or find her on Facebook and Twitter
Prudence and the Professor can be found at:

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