Wednesday

Review: Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've really enjoyed other books by Turano. The other books she's written have characters whom I grew to care about quite quickly. Caring about what happens to the characters, wondering what's going to happen next are prerequisites for an enjoyable read for me. This one didn't quite hit the mark.

For no apparent reason Asher is drawn to Permilla (obviously made up name, which people just didn't do back in previous centuries unlike now, which is a drawback for me because period works should stay in the era they depict). While I can understand great passion can arise just because a person likes the way another person looks, Permilla is described as pretty--but why is she a wallflower... oh! She can't talk to men... but, then why can she voice her opinion so eloquently about Asher to Asher?

When I got to the point where the two main characters were going to let someone else find out who the potential murderer was, I completely lost interest and put it down. So sorry Turano. This one flop (in my opinion) won't keep me from reading your books because they previous ones have ALL been really good. Everyone is allowed at least one backstep once in a while :)

It wasn't meshing for me. When I consider the high quality of previous books by Turano with this one, this one falls flat.

Got it from Netgalley exchanging for an honest review.

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Review: Inspector Hobbes and the Bones

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones Inspector Hobbes and the Bones by Wilkie Martin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I got this book because I really like Wilkie Collins' stories and the premise sounded wonderfully quirky. Let's just say that I'm allergic to certain types of language, and the dialogue in this book was limp and couldn't draw me into the story. I know this isn't because it's from across the pond. It's just that the writing did not appeal to me as a reader nor as an editor. I'm sure this must be because I didn't read any of the first 3 in the series. But on the other hand, I just couldn't get into the story. So much happened to poor Andy that I found I didn't really care about Andy. Any he's not like Mr. Bean who funny in the mishaps. Just didn't click for me, but I see that it does for most of those who reviewed it. Guess I'm the one out in the cold :)

Downloaded from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

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Review: My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved this story. It had some great character development and the dialogue was very believable as well as pushed the story along. Head hopping was at a minimum, and for that I am very grateful. I truly enjoyed the children characters who were not as developed as the main characters. That was a bit of a disappointment because there wouldn't have been a story without the children. The narration and the dialogue were period- accurate. In other words, I wasn't jerked out of the 1800s into the 21st Century with the turn of a phrase. Good book, and a keeper! I give this 4 stars out of 5 stars because there were a couple of places that were a bit confusing that blocked the story flow for me. I know it was probably because this was an advance reader copy rather than the real-deal off the shelf. But, I call them as I see them, and I've read things off the shelf that have this same problem, so those stumbling blocks may still be there when you read the book. Just sayin'

Received this book from the publisher at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday

Review: From This Moment

From This Moment From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was intrigued from page 1. I do recommend this book for historical romance readers. I am also intrigued with the historical accuracy. However, Once again the era norms are ignored and the women are encased in 20th and 21st century ways of thinking. I don't find that very historically accurate so you've got a fine line to walk that as a general rule falls on the side of accuracy, but there are moments when you are jerked out of the 1800s and experience a 20th century smack-down. If that doesn't bother you, then you'll like this book.

I especially liked the scientific aspects, the tensions among the characters, which makes for good conflict without seeming like the author is trying too hard to create conflict. It just comes naturally among the characters. Character development is pretty good, too.

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Tuesday

Review: Deep Freeze Christmas

Deep Freeze Christmas Deep Freeze Christmas by Marian P. Merritt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well... I reviewed this book several weeks ago, but I haven't a clue what happened to it.

This story is very well written and has that authentic Cajun flavor that pours from Chef and the main character Leona Buquet. Also well done is the electricity that spark between Leona and Cameron. I like that peppering of faith that sprinkles the story. Not preachy... just good story writing. Excellent editing, too!

Well done White Rose Publishing! Kudos to you, too.

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Saturday

Review: Wed by Necessity

Wed by Necessity Wed by Necessity by Karen Kirst
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried and tried to get into this book. I really liked the premise, but the execution fell flat. I just could not care one way or another about the main characters. The animosity/attraction between the two main characters is far too heavy-handed in the beginning. If someone is aggravated by another person, they aren't interested in how broad his shoulders are. The beginning is just not believable in my opinion. This kind of writing goes way back to those kidnap-woman-fall-in-love books written back in the late 70s and 80s.

Some authors made the premise work because the story was about preconceived perceptions being wrong, lack of communication, and finally discovering the other person's true character. Classic Pride and Prejudice. This one does not work.



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Thursday

Review: A Hero's Homecoming

A Hero's Homecoming A Hero's Homecoming by Carlene Havel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Truly a captivating read. However, there are some holes in the storyline that constrict the story flow somewhat. The protag comes home to find his house sold, his bank account drained and his wife is nowhere to be found. Now... all those problems seem to just disappear when he finally makes it home to his dad's house. The reason I say it's captivating is because you seem to forget those problems as he gets closer to God and to the one woman who is actually worthy to love. I guess if your dad is as rich as Midas you don't have to worry that you've lost everything.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that the characters don't agonize over everything and the author doesn't constantly "bring you up to date" like you've forgotten the plot from one chapter to the next.

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Review: Christmas at Dove Creek

Christmas at Dove Creek Christmas at Dove Creek by Scarlett Dunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great story, great character development, solid and believable external conflicts and then you get to the end and realize why there's very little internal conflict with both main characters. What I found wonderful was the authentic Cajun flavor of the dialogue, the story, the details even though it is set in Colorado. Great job by the author, the editor, and the publisher. Thanks for a good read!

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Review: Stars in the Grass

Stars in the Grass Stars in the Grass by Ann Marie Stewart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The premise is very depressing. A child is killed in an accident and the family has to deal with the tragedy--all seen from the eyes of a 9-year-old girl. There are some sweet moments, and one or two places made me smile, but frankly the whole is gut-wrenching. I fight depression all the time, so this book was not good for me to read. The reason is there was no hope or ray of sunshine given at the beginning of the story. I need that to know that to latch onto because we can't count on happy endings anymore. There have been lots of books that end, and I feel cheated because the ending did not meet expectations.

It's very well written. It stays in the 70s with no oppsies from the 21st century, even speech patterns stay in the 70s. BUT readers need hope when faced with reading something so depressing. There has to be hope for the sunshine in a rainy week otherwise it becomes too oppressive.

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Wednesday

Review: The Honorable Heir

The Honorable Heir The Honorable Heir by Laurie Alice Eakes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four stars because the research is excellent and no modernism!

Enchanting story. Of course, the story has been told before countless times, but Eakes gives this one a nice flair. The story has a bit of mystery, a handsome love interest who just happens to be part of the family of Catherine's late husband.

Intriguing supporting characters are cousins, the wronged fiancee, and Catherine's sister. Eakes weaves the stories together beautifully from Catherine's point of view for the most part. She doesn't take long, backstory trips that clog the story flow. The research is wonderful. However...

Writing problems plague this story. There are a lot of character introduced without developing them so that you really don't know who Tristram is and who Ambrose is and where did Florian come from? The plotline drags in the middle with too much redundancy. You can only wonder about a person being a thief so much before you just have to move along. The huge problem remains that once Catherine fell in love with a pretty face along with a bit of lust, it looks like she'd be on her guard and less likely to fall in love with another pretty face and pack of muscles. That part seems very unrealistic to the point of unbelievability.

To make this novel work well, take out about 9,000 words, tighten the 1st half, and focus on giving each main character reasons to fall in love with each other. Also coerce the villain to confess, don't just let a confession fall on the floor like a broken plate.

Received the ARC from Netgalley.

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Monday

Review: Passages Across Time

Passages Across Time Passages Across Time by Bonnie Howell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting read if you like a lot of retrospection. At least CJ has a good outlook on life, and it's got a lot of positive prose in it. Except...

CJ has this idea that she missed so much because she didn't take the right turns or make the right decisions in life. But a windfall lands in her lap so she gets to take that trip she never did, and buy everything she saw that she just might like. I have to wonder why is it that people have to swing on a pendulum to find out what they think they want, they really don't want.

Anyway that the kind of story this is... however

Description is really good, and small town living is very well depicted. You get a great feel for the sights, sounds, and smells in CJ's world. Riding with CJ happens to be a worthy ride.

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Review: And Then She Was Gone

And Then She Was Gone And Then She Was Gone by Christopher Greyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apparently, this is not the first in the series, but it goes back to Jack Stratton's teen year's and his first solved mystery. I was intrigued from the first page. Then when I realized it was about a 17-year-old, I thought oh, it's a YA. in a series. But, the beginning is quite chilling. Well, it was good all the way through. I especially liked how the characters were developed from their actions and responses to situations. I will most likely read all the other books.

Good mystery with plenty of twists and turns. I'm rarely surprised in whodunits because I analyze so deeply. I love to solve puzzles. But this one was a surprise because it turned out it wasn't who I thought it was. Greyson lays down a great puzzle to analyze. I got really annoyed with Jack Stratton because he kept doing things that were stupid, and then he put his dad in a situation that was quite dangerous although the dad walked right into with eyes wide open. But that's at the end and no spoiler.

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