Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Brief Thoughts: Obsidian Prey

Obsidian Prey

by Jayne Castle
Book 6 of Harmony

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

Amber tuner and independent prospector Lyra Dore lost her heart—and her discovery of a rare amethyst ruin—to cutthroat businessman Cruz Sweetwater.  At least she had her artistically talented dust-bunny to comfort her…

But the ruin’s mysterious power has put everyone involved with the project in danger.  And only by trusting their psychic instincts will Cruz and Lyra survive— and surrender to the desire that binds them.


As has been with all of Jayne Castle (Jayne Ann Krentz)'s Harmony books, I immensely enjoyed Obsidian Prey.  The writing style is smooth and easy to read, the story line is straight forward, the progression is fast-paced, and the characters are fun.

I love me some dust bunnies!  They are my mascot and I really, really want to create a stuffed dust bunny of my own!  Although, while I DID love our resident dust bunny in this book, I can't say that Vincent really stood out from the other dust bunnies from previous books.  HOWEVER, I do love that each of our bunnies has their own unique style and personality; the entire world of Harmony is like a playground to them.

I enjoyed the entire "Dust bunny as mysterious, new, and celebrated artist" thing going in this book.  I thought it was adorable.

Our human characters, however, were less relatable.  Lyra was standard--feisty, stubborn, etc....  I DID like the whole "Dore luck" thing, because it reflects life so well.  Cruz was standard--broody, alpha, stubborn, demanding... etc....  But there really wasn't much about him that I did like, even if the whole "Sweetwaters take their romance very seriously" thing was kind of intriguing, if also kind of tacky.  Because Cruz was kind of a jackass in the beginning, and even as the story progressed, he didn't really stop being a jackass, he just managed to add some charm into his jackass personality.

I liked the other young Sweetwater male we get to meet, Jeff, a whole lot more; he who wants to quit the family business and be part of real law enforcement so he can help fight for the little people--the people who can't afford major security companies like Amber Inc., run by the Sweetwaters, geared towards the wealthy.

I like every time we uncover continued connections between Arcane Society and Harmony.  I like the new developments of different paranormal talents.

The suspense part of the book--mysterious hallucinations, a murder in the background, stolen artifacts, hired thugs--were a little lacking, I felt.  The romance was also a bit lukewarm, compared to previous romances in this series.

And, really that's all I can come up with.  It's not a memorable book, truth be told, though it was an enjoyable one while it lasted.


***

Booklikes-opoly

Roll #14: (See Also: Memorial Weekend Extra Roll Activities)
This book it tagged 'science fiction' on GR.

Page Count:  351
Cash Award:  +$3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $64.00


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Brief Thoughts: The Perfect Poison

The Perfect Poison

by Amanda Quick
Book 6 of Arcane Society

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

Plagued by rumors that she poisoned her fianc√©, Lucinda Bromley manages to live on the fringes of polite society, tending her beloved plants—and occasionally consulting on a murder investigation.  For the notorious botanist possesses a unique talent: she can detect almost any type of poison, especially ones that have their origins in the botanical kingdom.

But the death of a lord has shaken Lucinda to her core.  At the murder scene, she picks up traces of a poison containing a very rare species of fern.  So rare, in fact, that only one specimen exists in all of England—and it was stolen from her conservatory just last month.  To keep her name out of the investigation and to find the murderer, Lucinda hires a fellow Arcane Society member.  Caleb Jones runs a psychical investigation agency.  A descendant of the founder of the Society, he is very good at protecting its secrets—and frighteningly good getting at the truth.  Immediately, Lucinda senses both a raw power and undeniable intensity in the imposing man.

But as a nearly overwhelming desire blooms between Caleb and Lucinda, they are drawn into the dark heart of a deadly conspiracy that can be traced to the early days of the Arcane Society—and to a legacy of madness that could plunge Caleb into the depths of his own tortured soul…


The Perfect Poison is probably the first historical in Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society that I actually, really, really liked.  For whatever reason, I'm not entirely certain, since it doesn't stray far from the story lines of the previous two historical installments in this series.  Could be that, while I didn't really have any problem with the previous two books' characters, I didn't really care for them all that much either--I think it was the romances that didn't do it for me, even though I did like the characters as individuals.  This made them kind of 'meh' books.

But in this installment, the characters were great and I DID find that I really liked both.  Caleb Jones was not the typical, broody, alpha lord type, and he had a few moments that might have endeared him to me.  Lucinda was the typical strong, and independent, and eccentric heroine, but I also loved how readily she just stands up to Caleb in spite of his intimidating glowering all the time.

And also, the romance actually developed a little bit more ideally--it was definitely not a typical Amanda Quick formula, I'll give it that.

Meanwhile, the story line felt more substantial, rather than just being another add-on to the ongoing background conflict between the Arcane Society and that mysterious, secret cabal of rogue psychics.

As per usual, the book was addictive and easy to read; the side characters were also great.  And aside from some typical romance cliches here and there, I really didn't have a whole lot of objections pertaining to this book.

I DO like how we continue to see certain parallels between the contemporary books in this series, as well as connections to JAK's futuristic Harmony series.  It just gets me all excited!


***

Booklikes-opoly

In celebration of Memorial Day Weekend, the Booklikes-opoly Prison Library is accepting donations of up to 100 pages.

I read and donated 100 pages from this book to the Prison Library.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

BLopoly | Long Weekend Extra Rolls and Roll #16 Updates!


Okay, decisions have been made!  And the first update I'm setting in this post is for the part about the BLopoly Jail Library accepting donations all weekend:
The jail library is accepting donations all weekend, in honor of Memorial Day! Anyone playing can donate any number of pages between 1 & 100 between midnight Friday & midnight Monday. Double pages if you read a short story that has something to do with any modern war (WWI or later) (so, up to 200 pages).

So, because I want to be able to read Obsidian Prey by Jayne Castle for my Tomorrowland 33 task, I need to read The Perfect Poison first.  I know they're not in the same series, and I could skip straight to Obsidian Prey first... but that's not how my mind works.  The two series will intersect soon, and I had already made up my mind to read all the books in both Arcane Society series and Harmony series in publication date order.  Together.

Yeah... if you can make sense of my madness... good luck.

So, according to that passage for Memorial Day's jail library donation rule, I can only donate up to 100 pages.  Obviously, The Perfect Poison is 300+ pages; however, since I'm reading it anyway, I figured I might as well make it count for something!


Moving along to the official books for these rolls!


Memorial Day Weekend Extra Rolls

Roll #14:  Landed on Tomorrowland 33 | Read a book set in space or tagged science fiction on GR, or a book that includes robots or cyborgs.

I'm really not a science fiction person, though I've read my fair share of sci-fi before.  Still, it's not my first choice when it comes to books.  That being said, while I was going through each game task one night and making lists based on all the books on my TBR and personal shelves... well, turns out the Tommorowland rides are the ones where my list is so piddling that I've been wary of landing an ANY of these squares.

I have exactly two books listed at present that would fit this square.  And as I stated above, I will be reading Obsidian Prey by Jayne Castle.  This book is tagged science fiction, and the setting of the ongoing series, Harmony takes place in the future in space.

Obsidian Prey is 351 pages = $3.00.



Roll #15:  Landed on Frontierland 1 | Read a book with a title that starts with any letter in 'Frontier,' or a book tagged "Western" on GR.

I'm not sure if I've ever read a Western before.  You'd think that with all the Harlequin romances I've read, a Western genre wouldn't be hard to find, what with all the cowboy romances out there.  But again, it really isn't my thing, much like Science Fiction really isn't my thing.

So I will be using the first half of the game task criteria and choosing a book with a title that starts with any letter in 'Frontier.'  And my pre-prepared list of possible books includes The Rome Affair, not counting the article 'the,' the book starts with an 'R.'  This is perfect since I'm trying to finish this series anyway, and it's a book on my Kindle shelves that needs to be read.

The Rome Affair is 283 pages = $3.00.



Regular Game Play Roll

Roll #16.1:  Landed on Main Street 10 | Read a book that takes place in a small town in the U.S.A.

Oh, so many possibilities for this one!  In fact, almost every Jill Shalvis book I either own or am planning on reading is set in a small town.  After some deliberation, I decided to forgo another Lucky Harbor book in favor of the fourth Animal Magnetism installation, Rumor Has It.  Mainly because Rumor Has It is going to be in audio book format, so I don't feel so overwhelmed with books, books, and more books to get read.

Especially since I set a new challenge to participate in starting June.

Rumor Has It is an approximate 9 hour audio book with a paperback equivalent of 281 pages, or a Kindle e-book equivalent of 306 pages, either way, it will be worth $3.00 upon completion.



Roll #16.2:  Landed on Luxury Tax Square | Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!

I'm going to see if I can't squeeze in Kay Hooper's Once a Thief into this square.  The summary notes one of the characters as having a "family fortune" that took his family "centuries" to "acquire their treasures," of which he is now being asked to risk in a public exhibition to to bait a world class thief. I'm going to go on a limb here and suppose that this guy's collection isn't pop bottle caps, though I think people DO pay pretty good money for collections like that.  I think I can assume, after centuries, this character could be a millionaire, if not a billionaire?

The second book in this series mentions that the guy's collection is priceless.

So... I'm going to go ahead and read Once a Thief for this game square.  I suppose, if it turns out it doesn't really fit, I'll just call it a miss and move on without collecting my cash award.  I need to read Once a Thief and Always a Thief for my Reading Assignment Challenge anyway.

Once a Thief is 326 pages, paperback = $3.00.



Booklikes-opoly | Roll #16!

Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform



Roll #13 landed me on Adventureland 27, where I read a book by an author whose initials can be found in the name 'Tarzan.'  Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts is clocked at 402 pages according to my Kindle book (even though anywhere else I look, it says 512 pages); either way, it is worth a $5.00 cash reward.  Along with the doubled rewards bonus I get from my Roll #12 when I landed on a BL Square, I earn an extra $5.00, which goes to Portable Magic now that I'm finished with the book.

This brings my Bank Balance to $61.00!

 

So Carnal Innocence took a lot longer to finish than I had expected.  And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book, because while it was extremely slow-going, pretty much perfectly mirroring that slow, lazy, southern lifestyle that our MC, Tucker radiates, it was also kind of fun.  The humor was apt, and that strange conversational, round about way of talking that every character presented was also interesting.

Unfortunately, it sure didn't feel like there was a serial killer in the background.

Fortunately, less than 50% into the book, we are introduced to Useless, a little puppy who is super adorable and could give the human MCs a run!  Oh, and the book DID manage to pick up a little bit, even if the progress still felt a big dragged out.


And now moving onto my Roll #16:

While this book was read for Roll #13, per Moonlight Reader, every player gets to roll two additional times in celebration of Memorial Day and the long weekend.  Here are the deets to my additional rolls that I already took.  These rolls brought me around to finally land on Frontierland 1, so I will move forward from here for my next game play roll.  Since my last regular roll was on 5/22, I'm quite overdue for another roll, and if the same game play rules are in play as they were from Dewey's Read-a-Thon extra rolls, I still get my regular roll on top of the extra rolls for Memorial Day extra rolls.

Roll #16.1: (because apparently Doubles are a thing in this game)


 

I ended up rolling a Double 5 = 10, which took me from Frontierland 1 to Main Street 10.


Looks like Monkey's friends have all taken off.  Not much of a party, man...  But I suppose to continue the celebration, Monkey has resorted to doing tricks.  Oh, and looks like Keychain Puppy is still hanging around, though!  Hello!!  **waves**

Meanwhile, Roll #16.2:


 

Because of the doubles roll, I rolled again and got a 5, taking me from Main Street 10 to Luxury Tax, which states:  "Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!"


Peek-a-boo!  Silly Penni Penguin!


Well... This weekend sure has become quite exciting!  I'm loving all these interesting new twists and extra freebie rolls for the game!

I sort of have an idea of what I will be reading for each space, including for the extra rolls from my earlier post.  I will finalize my book selections and then create an update post later today.

Happy reading everyone, and hope you guys are having a great weekend!



Current Bank:   $61.00


Booklikes-opoly | Memorial Day Extra Rolls! (Rolls #14 & #15)

Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform



Technically it's not really a long weekend for me since hospitals don't ever rest.  So while I DO have the weekend off--as it is my usual weekend off, every other weekend--I don't also get Memorial Day, though I DO get Memorial Day time-and-a-half pay, which makes up for it!  =D

Anyway, in honor of the long Memorial Day weekend, Moonlight Reader has decreed additional Freebie Rolls!  Much like the Dewey's Freebie rolls, we can add these to our existing game play.  And, of course, I'd have to finish all my books before moving onto the next roll after.

I'm still reading Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts from my previous roll, and will try to finish it before starting into my extra roll books.  I will update with the next roll at that time, which will hopefully be sometime today.  Since these are additional rolls, I'm assuming we can still roll our regularly scheduled roll as well?

I was trying to finish Carnal Innocence before jumping into my extra rolls, so I could just post everything at once, but the book is still kind of slow going, and I'm just too excited about the extra rolls to wait.  But I'm getting close, so the next post for my regularly schedule roll should also be going up soon.


Meanwhile, here are my Memorial Day Extra Rolls:

And yes, I'm still super excited and obsessed with my phone's dice roller app.  I may just continue its use for the rest of the game.  I like being able to shake my dice, though my brothers may not approve of me waving my phone around like a madwoman every time I roll.

First Memorial Day Extra Roll, Roll #14:


 

So I rolled a 7 for my first Memorial Day Weekend Extra.  This takes me from Adventureland 27 to Tomorrowland 33.  This is, indeed one of the hardest spaces for me, mainly because I'm not much for science fiction, but I DO have maybe two books I could read for this space.


Excited Monkey is excited!  Freebies are always exciting, and Magnetic Monkey knows it!  And I still haven't gotten him a nice treat for helping me liven up my ghetto board.  HOWEVER, I did re-print a new, larger scaled board for us.  Unfortunately, it looks like my color's fading.  =(

Oh well.  Moving along...

Second Memorial Day Extra Roll, Roll #15:


 

The next Memorial Day Extra Roll netted me a 5 which takes me to Frontierland 1.


Oh hey!  It's become a party.  Looks like Magnetic Monkey decided to celebrate Memorial Day weekend as well by inviting friends!  =D  We're missing some food, though...  And who is he waving at?


Ah.  Fuzzy Penguin, come to join the party.  And look at that, Peek-a-Boo Penni Penguin is at the bottom of the screen doing what she does best.  Peek-a-boo!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Anyway, as this post is becoming somewhat crowded, I will be updating with a combined update for what books I will be reading, for both my extra rolls and my next regular game play roll of which I should be partaking in within the next few hours.

Weekends off are great!  Stay tuned for more news!


Current Bank:   $56.00


Monday, May 22, 2017

Booklikes-opoly | Roll #13!

Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform


For my previous roll, Roll #12 on 5/20, I rolled a 3 and landed on the BL Square.  A further roll netted me BL Task 11, which read: Read for two!  The rewards for your next book are doubled - and half of the money goes to another player of your choice!

 

According to the rules, I did not get to read for this square, so the doubled rewards will go to the book I get from today's roll!  And let me tell you, as much fun as I've been having will rolling the dice for my next move, without a book to read for Booklikes-opoly, I felt kind of lost, and the wait until the next roll felt like it was going on forever!

Meanwhile, however, I was actually able to finish reading a non-challenge related book and it felt kind of good, to be honest.  Okay, that was a lie.  The book I read was totally for another challenge, even if for a more personal challenge that I'm frankly just using as a way to make myself finish reading series.  I'm totally not taking that personal series challenge too seriously-ish.  But it still felt good to get some reading done that I've been trying to get to since the beginning of this year.

Anyway...

I wasn't sure how I wanted to choose who to share my rewards with, so I was thinking about doing a random roll or something.  Ultimately, however, I decided to skim the game posts and the Bank Balances, and see if there was someone who could maybe use a little boost, even if a tiny one.

After some deliberation, I decided on Portable Magic!  It looks like the game's been kind of slow-going for her due to baseball season and all, so hopefully this will help give a small boost.  I know it's not much, but wanted to be helpful.  To Portable Magic, I will send you a private message in case you don't see this update, and then will let you know when I finally finish my book and have money to share so we can both cash in!


And now moving onto my Roll #13:

So I got so obsessed with the dice roller app on my phone that I found myself playing with it at random moments.  I mean, you can tap it, shake it, or swipe, and it will roll!  So rather than going back to Random.org to do my roll, this time I decided to switch things up a bit and use the app.

Doesn't it look kind of cool?  I played with the background, the color of the dice, even gave it a metallic shine!  Ahem...

 

So, I rolled a 7, which takes me from the BL Square to Adventureland 27.


Magnetic Monkey:  "Is this where Teddy Bear is supposed to go?"

Monkey might be a bit of a diva, being all up on my game board, but at least he's helpful.


For the book, it took a bit of a search until I realized that Nora Roberts would totally fit this game space.  There were several books that had trees on the cover, but I think I was more interested in reading another Romantic Suspense.

I went ahead and checked out two books from the e-book library so I could get started on reading immediately.


Carnal Innocence is 402 pages on the Kindle version, just enough pages to get me a $5.00 cash reward!  The Obsession is 464 pages on the Kindle version, which would also be $5.00.  Truthfully, I had wanted to read River's End, but it just so happens to have already been checked out, so maybe I'll just leave it for the next time I land on Frontierland 4 and need a book title that can spell 'River.'

I'm leaning more towards Carnal Innocence, so that is what I will probably end up reading, but I'm going to give both a short sample go and see which one draws me in more.

Either way, I will be earning a double reward based on my previous roll wherein the BL Task I got allows me to share half the reward with another player, that player being Portable Magic.  Once again, I will make sure to let you know when I've finished the book so we can both collect on the $5.00!  I know it's not much, but hopefully it'll help,


Current Bank:   $56.00


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Brief Thoughts: Under the Mistletoe

Under the Mistletoe

by Jill Shalvis
Lucky Harbor #6.5 - a novella

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

JUST ONE MORE KISS

There's no place like home for the holidays.  And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer.  But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright.  Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet.  But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.

Nick grew up without a family of his own so he's overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season.  Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he's ever had to do.  If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia's love for a lifetime.


I feel a little mean giving this novella such a meh rating, especially since it DOES also give us a brief glimpse of Chloe and Sawyer--my utmost favorite Lucky Harbor couple.  Unfortunately, the glimpse is simply too brief for my liking.

I know, I know.  Chloe and Sawyer already got their book.  This novella is about Mia and Nick.

It's a cutesy and teeth-achingly sweet short romance story, but the events and our main couple's behavior was so over-dramatic that I found myself rolling my eyes on several occasions.  To be totally honest, I was never really able to relate with Tara and Ford's daughter, Mia in the third Lucky Harbor book--her development wasn't entirely fleshed out.  And while I'm glad that she gets a nice Happily Ever After in a short story, I don't feel like this story was totally necessary.

AND it infringed upon Chloe and Sawyer's wedding day as well, which makes me a bit disappointed.  As my favorite Lucky Harbor couple, I would have liked for these two to get a special epilogue or novella for their wedding...

Er... yeah...  Moving along...

Anyway, like I said, the novella is cute and sweet, but I just couldn't find myself understanding what the conflict truly was, though I DO see what we were trying to make of the conflict.  That whole thing where Mia was always the one to pick the people in her life and never the other way around, and for once, she wanted someone to pick her.

Except, as an adopted child, even with feelings of abandonment, it doesn't escape my notice that... well, didn't her adoptive parents pick her to be a daughter, part of their lives?

Anyway, this short seemed like a pretty flimsy plot, with some super cheesy dialogue in the end when Nick was trying to win Mia back.  Still, once again, it's cute and it's sweet, so we get points for that.


Thoughts: Forever and a Day

Forever and a Day

by Jill Shalvis
Book 6 of Lucky Harbor

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars


While there were a lot of things about this book that bugged me, such as some characters' behaviors, or the almost too deliberate "Meant to Be" vibe coming off our couple in spades--actions, thoughts, and dialogue from both Grace's and Josh's POVs overtly mirroring each other--I found that I actually, really enjoyed this book.

Nonetheless, there were still a lot of loose ends left unwrapped, and some side tangents left unfollowed.  I feel satisfied, but at the same time... well, not quite.  If ya know what I mean.


The Story:
Grace has spent her entire life trying to live up to her adoptive parents' standards, the two of them being rocket scientist over-acheivers.  While she cannot follow in her parents' footsteps to take on a career in the sciences, Grace has found her niche in numbers, financials, accounting... the like, and is determined to be the most successful financial manager for any prospective business that will hire her.  Unfortunately, her goals are dashed when she takes a position in Seattle, only to find that her boss is more interested in what she can do for him on a more personal level, if she wants to keep rising in her field.  With that, Grace walks away from that job and arrived in Lucky Harbor, hoping to find herself and figure out what her next steps will be.

In the meantime, she finds herself taking up all forms of odd end jobs in order to survive her day-to-day, including an impromptu dog-walker job for Lucky Harbor's favorite young doctor, Joshua Scott.  In no time, she's also babysitting Dr. McHottie's son, trying to help counsel his paraplegic baby sister, and generally worming her way into somehow managing to help organize his personal life for him.

After all, as an ER doctor who also inherited his father's practice, Josh doesn't seem to be able to find an extra hour anywhere in his day to spend with his sister or his son; something that has been looming over him as a source of regret.  But Grace's presence seems to start a cascade of change in his life; not only is he uncontrollably attracted to her, but her passion for everything she does seems to help him figure out how to finally balance his work and personal life...

... or something like that...


My Thoughts:
There's no good way to really summarize a book when, to be totally honest, very little happens outside of the developments between our main couple.  Sure, there are also developments between Josh and his sister, but those almost feel picked over in favor of the romance.  And then there's even the nonexistent interactions between Grace and her parents--I would have really loved to have seen something happen between them, such as an understanding that Grace doesn't have to become as "perfect" as her rocket scientist parents.  But this subject was never really touched upon outside of Grace's own misgivings and self-doubts.

I would have loved to see that maybe Grace's adoptive parents were never truly that stuck on Grace being the best or the perfect, ambitious over achiever.  I would have loved to see whether or not all of these obligations she's set for herself, were maybe just her own, and not her parents'.

Coming back to the relationship between Josh and his sister, Anna--the story behind the animosity stems from Anna's anger after a tragic car accident that kills the Scott parents and leaves Anna paralyzed.  But as we can see, Anna seems perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but has made it her life's mission to make her elder brother miserable in order to sate her feelings of anger, unable to truly express her self-doubt about her own life.

I thought there could have been so much more development between these two; a way in which they could come to some sort of understanding.  After the death of their parents, Josh was also thrown into a whirlwind of chaos, because not long before his parents died, he was left with little Toby when the little boy's mother walks away, never looking back.  On top of that, Josh had just started his career as a doctor.

The two Scott siblings had so much going on between the two of them, in their lives, and to add onto that, we learn that they are too stubborn for their own good to initiate taking a step towards working out their issues and fixing their relationship.

Even with Grace's presence as a catalyst, I think there could have been so much more potential between Josh and Anna's sibling relationship development.  The version in this book feels kind of deflated, truth be told.

Anyway, Jill Shalvis still manages to deliver a very enjoyable romance, though she DOES tend to focus too much on the romance, at the detriment of other tangential story lines that would have been awesome if expanded upon.

Nonetheless, Forever and a Day is probably my favorite of this second trio of books in the Lucky Harbor series.  Grace's unabashed show of ogling and groping Josh was actually kind of entertaining.  This is one couple whose romantic development actually felt fairly down-to-earth, with an insta-lust slowly growing into a full blown relationship, and then to love.

It's just unfortunate that their relationship still suffers from that same ailment that all romance novel couples suffer from--lack of proper communication.  No matter that Grace DOES spend a lot of time trying to pry into Josh's stubborn, tight-lipped secrets, whether to be helpful in figuring out how to take care of him and his family, or just out of pure curiosity.  The two still spend a lot of time second-guessing what each other want for their lives without once trying to talk it out until the end.

Meanwhile, Anna tended to get on my nerves with her bratty behavior--some of it that could have even been quite dangerous to a five year old little boy--and so did the way that Josh treated her.  These siblings could really use some good counseling, mainly on how to stop purposefully pissing each other off.  Then again, being one fourth of a set of siblings myself, I know perfectly well that there is no such thing as logical discussion when it comes to siblings and rivalry and the like.  Sometimes, you just fight for the stupidest reasons... because you can.  It's what siblings do.  Because at the end of the day, you're still related to each other.

On a side note, the best part of this book was probably the ornery duo of Josh's son, Toby, and their little devil of a pug puppy, Tank.  These two were so much adorbs that I couldn't help smiling every time they presented in the story!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Brief Thoughts: A Kiss for Midwinter (novella)

A Kiss for Midwinter

by Courtney Milan
Brothers Sinister #1.5 (novella)

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time.  But no matter how hard she smiles, she can't forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation.  Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham.  She wants nothing to do with him...or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He's been in love with Lydia for more than a year.  This winter, he's determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own.  It all starts with a wager and a kiss...


There was a lot about this novella that I loved, but then there were also a few things I didn't quite care for.  The characters were fun, up to a certain point, and while I DID sort of like their banter, it didn't escape my notice that both had a way of doing or saying things that kind of frustrated me.  Jonas tended towards condescending prick at times, but I DO like how straight-forward and no-nonsense he is.  Lydia got frustratingly irrational at the beginning, jumping to conclusions, and imagining slights where there were none; but she had her good moments as well.

I can't say that this was an entirely awesome and wonderful story, having recently coming off of the magnificent high that was The Duchess War.  Although since I hadn't been particularly enamored of the prequel novella, The Governess Affair, it wasn't like I was entirely disappointed.

Truth be told, while I did like Lydia from when she was simply a side character, as Minnie's best friend in the first book, I'm not quite sure I really needed a Lydia story.  I'm happy for her Happily Ever After, but I'm guessing I probably could have gone without this novella and would have been fine.

It was enjoyable to read, but nothing spectacular.


Booklikes-opoly | Roll #12!

Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform


I was too jittery to wait until 5/20 to roll (my last roll was on 5/18).  And I will be at work with no backup book to read during my free time if I happen to manage to finish this novella I'm currently reading outside of BLopoly.  So I went ahead and rolled and set up my post (which I will be scheduling to publish after midnight so it goes up on 5/20; and yes, I'm that anal).  I will NOT begin reading the book until 5/20, anyway, though there are only a couple hours left of 5/19, so it's not like it's a really long wait.

So anyway... moving right along...

For my Roll #11, I rolled an 11 and ended up on Cars Land 18.  I chose to read The London Deception by Addison Fox, a book published in 2013--meeting the game space requirements.  This book is 282 pages, which gave me a cash reward of $3.00, bringing my Bank Balance to $56.00.

 

The London Deception was immensely more enjoyable to me than the first book in The House of Steele series, The Paris Assignment.  I think it might have had to do with how the couple's relationship was handled, as well as all the talk of archaeology and an Egyptian dig site, and whatnot, even if not a whole lot of time is given to the actual dig itself.  The suspense plot was a little weak, truth be told, but it DID keep our main couple on their feet, and I liked out readily they were able to respond to these stressors together and develop their bond along the way.

A review might be forthcoming at some point.

Meanwhile...

Here is my twelfth roll:


 

I rolled a 3 and moved from Cars Land 18 to BL Square.


Monkey is trying to steal attention again.  Looks like he's out of his slump, though, so that's good.

But anyway, seeing as how I landed on BL, it means I get to roll again for one of the 12 BL Tasks.  And since I like visuals, I searched the internet for a 12 sided DnD dice, only to be denied that pleasure.  So what did I do?  I downloaded a dice roller app on my phone!  =D  One that allows you to shake the phone and the dice will roll... although you have to be careful, because apparently when I put my phone down after I shook it for the first, roll, the dice rolled again... so I had to go with that number since I didn't have a proper screen capture of the first one...


So, 11 for the BL Tasks says:  Read for two!  The rewards for  your next book are doubled - and half of the money goes to another player of your choice!

And after posing the question in the Q&A forum, this will count towards the next book I read for the next roll.  So until I can roll again on 5/22, I will not be reading a book for BLopoly.

I suppose this will give me a chance to catch up on some other reading I'd been meaning to do without any restrictions.  Hmm...  Reading a book of my own choosing without challenges or games to dictate...  LOL  What SHALL I read?

Anyway, as I am running out of time before I need to wrap up this post, stay tuned for another update post, and I will figure out how I will choose who to give half my reward to at some point tomorrow!


Current Bank:   $56.00


Friday, May 19, 2017

Can You Read a Series In A Month? June 2017 Challenge


I will definitely be participating in this reading challenge again, as I really enjoyed it last year in August when I read Maggie Shayne's Brown and de Luca series, enjoying it so much that I pretty much breezed through the entire thing before the month even really got started!

Unfortunately, with a lot of things going on in real life and in my bookish life, there is a distinct possibility I will fail this challenge.  HOWEVER, this year is the year of The Laid Back Reading Plans, wherein I just relax and read when I want to read and try not to stress too hard.  Meanwhile, this is also the year I decided to do what I can to cut down the number of series I've started already, so I'm hoping that this challenge will help me further my goals.

Also, with Booklikes-opoly still ongoing, depending on what my rolls and game tasks present... well that will be the difficult part.


The rules are pretty simple:  Read or finish one series in one month.  This time it is the month of June!  It can be a series you've already started, but there must be at least 3 published books that you have not yet read.  So if you want to read a trilogy and you haven't started, it'll count.  If you want to read a four book series and you've already read the first book, it'll count, too.

For more information and more answers to questions about the rules, refer to the sign up post link above.


My Series Pick


Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan

Completed Reviews: (updated on 6/15/2017)
1.  The Duchess War -- Read Pre-June 2017
2.  The Heiress Effect -- Read 06/04/2017
3.  The Countess Conspiracy -- Read 06/07/2017
4.  The Suffragette Scandal
novella 0.5:  The Governess Affair -- Already Read
novella 1.5:  A Kiss for Midwinter -- Read Pre-June 2017
novella 4.5:  Talk Sweetly to Me

*Click on series title for GR series page. // Click on book title for my review.

My Backup Series


Mordecai Young by Maggie Shayne


Ramblings

I read The Duchess War for another challenge, Booklikes-opoly, for a game task that required reading a book either taking place during Victoria's reign (1837 - 1901), or a book tagged steampunk.  Since I don't really read steampunk, I decided on a Victorian romance.  And I absolutely loved it!  Needless to say, I'd really love to finish this series!  There are also two more novellas I need to finish for this series; since we don't have to read novellas or short stories for this challenge, I'm going to try to read A Kiss for Midwinter before the challenge actually starts to get it done, because it would bother me too much to skip over books and shorts and novellas in a series.  Talk Sweetly to Me, thankfully comes after the fourth book in the series, so I can always try to get it read anytime after June if I don't make it in time.

I had briefly considered reading another Maggie Shayne series based upon my luck with this author so far.  But I will use Mordecai Young as a back-up series, even though I have a feeling (and know for sure) that I probably won't need one, unless I absolutely lose interest in Brothers Sinister.