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Always Another Book in the TBR

Love to read, but I love to also just buy. Sometimes I think my hobby is buying more than reading.
Beauty and the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #2) - Jessica Clare I received this book through a DA random drawing.
Ms. Clare handled the sending. She was great. Quick and friendly.

But the e copy I got had no cover, had instructions to insert certain things, had the name Jessica Madden as the author, so I am not really sure it was the final final. Now, this could be because I just got a Mobi format, not specifically through Kindle. I know nothing about the intricacies so I don't really know if that is a part of why there were inconsistencies.

That being said, it was well written and well edited. There were a few word issues, formatting issues and such, but nothing that affected the enjoyment of the book.

I did enjoy the book. I had some suspension of disbelief issues such as our Beauty not knowing about the Billionaire's disfigurement. One would think in today's world of instant info she would have sat down at the computer and done some basic searching. I also had issues with her sister, the assistant of a close friend of the Billionaire's, not warning the Beauty of the disfigurement if it was just so awful people flinch when seeing him.

This book was sensitively written and actually told a story. There were allusions and a cross-over with the first in this series, but there is no reason this can't be read on its own. It also had some pivotal bits for the setting up of the third book in this series. But they weren't just plot devices (yeah, they were major plot points) so the foundation for book three was nicely set up but not intrusive.

I was kind of confused as to whether this was meant to be erotic or just "hot." I decided it was just a good story, executed well with some hot sex scenes.

I really, really disliked the portrayal of the Southern assistant in the latter part of the book. It was stereotypical and negative and dismissive. I know it was meant to be humorous, but it just totally missed the humor mark for me. Yeah, I am Southern and I work in the real world with Southern assistants and lawyers and doctors and other professionals. Portraying this assistant as sweet but really unsophisticated (shall we say hick) and clueless, yeah, kind of hit some hot buttons. But that is a me thing.

All in all, a great little read.
A Different Witch (A Modern Witch, #5) - Debora Geary Very sweet book, like all the Modern Witch books.

Finally, a bit of diversity. Still not seeing witches of color, but we have crossed into the land of LGBT witches.

Ms. Geary also touched on Aspberger's, giving to me what seemed to be a thoughtful approach.

These books as a whole are very nice. They are well written and well edited. They flow well. Yeah, they are chock full o' action, but they tell a story and tell it well.

The constant cookie talk does make it hard for this cookie addict to sit still and not get up and get a cookie, or 12.

(Just a note: I haven't necessarily been reading these in order, but this is the first where Nell's husband is more than an allusion. I was glad to "see" him be loving and supportive, instead of just referred to as being loving and supportive.)

Flirting with Disaster (Camelot, #3)

Flirting with Disaster (Camelot, #3) - Ruthie Knox I usually love Ms. Knox's work.
This one, I was barely mildly fond of. But Ms. Knox still writes well enough that even if the book doesn't work for me, it is still a gem.

I liked all the others in this series. Maybe having just come off the high of Making It Last, this one just kind of felt too flat, too long, too emo.

I understand that a stuttering hero with a conflicted past, a heroine with abandonment issues, a secondary character with sexuality issues and perceived death threats is going to be chock full of emotional issues, self-talk, highs and lows and conflicting/ever-changing reactions and responses to what seems to be the same basic situation; but it just seemed to go on forever.

"It's Complicated" could be the subtitle of this book, and that is good and bad. There were basic premise issues that I had a hard time dealing with. Not to give spoilers, but I can't believe that a businessman would make the decisions that our hero did about his major security software company. Then in the ending, we are left with no answer as to what he did, or allowed to be done, with said company. I would have liked a logical ending to that arc.
Then with the secondary characters sexuality issues (and that is not really the right phrase, he knows what he is but he doesn't share that knowledge with the world) just seems to have had his issues cleared up with a single mea culpa.

I don't know, but my willing suspension of disbelief was just nonexistent with this book from the very beginning. It kept me from getting into the story much at all. When I take time to choreograph in my mind the seemingly impossible physical contortions this couple seemed to go through on a number of occasions, I know that I am just reading it to finish it. And when I got to the end of this one, I felt Ms. Knox was also just finishing it at a certain arbitrary point. I felt that it was rushed and not very satisfying. Yeah, there was an epilogue but the epilogue, too, felt like a mere ticking off of "this issue is dealt with, as is this one and this one; the end."

But it is well written, well edited. Ms. Knox can write the heck out of a scene and make me want to immerse myself in the world of her characters. Her narratives are some of the best I have ever experienced, and yeah, I feel as if I experience them.
I will continue to buy everything she writes and put it at the top of my TBR pile.

One quibble that doesn't have anything to do with the book, if reading it in e-form, keep in mind for all the Loveswept books, the last 10 percent ain't part of the book. Sometimes that just gripes me, especially if I feel an ending is rushed, which I did feel this ending was.

Okay. Off to reread Ride with Me by Ms. Knox, a truly fun and fabulous read that I recommend without reservation.

Saving Saffron Sweeting

Saving Saffron Sweeting - Pauline Wiles Lovely book. Very Jill Mansell-ish.
Well written, well edited.

This is Brit chick lit, which to me means it is just a look at the life of our characters.
Yes, things happen; but it is not full of fabulous living, trips to Paris and billionaire baby daddies.
Just a good book with a common trope executed well.

Loved every minute of it.

Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance (Knitting in the City, #1)

Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance (Knitting in the City, #1) - Penny Reid Oh, my. Have you ever started a book and then wanted to just stop reading it, not because it was so horrible but because you knew, you just knew this would be "one of those" books where if you could, you would just eat it whole because you knew it would be so darn yummy?

Oh, if I could have immersed myself in this book, just savored it. But no, no, darn my total and complete lack of self-control with all things yummy.

Took youngest to a three-week program at a college six-plus hours away. DH being a control freak like that, drives the whole way.

I start this luscious book and just commence to enjoy, literally cackling aloud. Being married to me for a long time, the chauffeur/husband doesn't even ask anymore. He just drives Ms. Ellen.

Anyway, yeah, it is a romance. It definitely falls in that category, but it falls into so many more categories that can't be so easily defined.

We have Janie, a loveable, smart, self-aware but not totally, young woman who is basically letting life happen to her while she reads and amasses knowledge, and then indulges in TMTI (too much trivial information) when times get tough. And times are currently very tough. Lost her boyfriend (well, not so much lost as just kind of pushed him out of the "boyfriend" category upon learning of his infidelity), therefore losing her apartment. Then, what a coincidence, she loses her job former boyfriend's father procured for her.

But all is not horrible. She was handled kindly by the security officer who was assigned to see her from the building, her BFF has graciously agreed to take her in and she has a wonderful support group of friends in her knitting club (which apparently you don't have o be a knitter to join).

This story is all about how Janie got Janie back, not a Janie back, but how Janie got her own agency through learning to feel and risk and love.

The dialog, internal and external, is interesting, informative (TMTI, remember), and oh, so very funny*. Through this dialog we learn how Janie became Janie. We learn that Janie thinks she is really not very attractive (but in the way of a lot of "romance" books, the world around our young heroine lets us know that, yeah, she is quite attractive), that she keeps herself from "feeling" and we learn why this is her preferred method of living.

Janie and her new love (lust) interest are both unique and interesting. I don't want to give too many details on either, really, because I had little knowledge of either (downloaded book ages ago, just reading and deleting a bunch of freebies/cheapies without looking at what the book is about) and I think I enjoyed it all the more for a lack of preconceived notions of the way the story should/is going.

All I can say is I do wish I had waited a bit longer to read this because there is no second in the series yet and I want the second one NOW.

*Oh, just as an aside, when I say "funny," that is not code for bathroom humor, dirty word humor, sophomoric prank humor. It just means funny.

Oh, and it is four stars instead of five because there are a number of misspellings, just plain wrong word choices (I got a whiff of thesaurus more than a time or two), punctuation errors and grammar issues. I am a bit hardnosed on such things and I am assured by the rest of the world (okay, my family) that not everyone cares about that as much as I do

Quick Study

Quick Study - Gretchen Galway Blech.

Read this right after I read and LOVED and five starred another of Ms. Galway's books. It was to be the start of an obsessive Galway glom through a two-week vacation. So looking forward to it.

Glom stopped in its tracks.

From the premise to the characters to the actions of the characters throughout it was just upsetting and puzzling.

The female protag is a grad student conducting a study. In this study she feels it is responsible behavior to engage in sex with the study's subjects. But wait, she isn't going to tell them they are part of the study. Or wait, maybe the plan was to tell them they were in a study, but with her first and only study "partner" she gets personally involved and just can't bring herself to break the mood by having him sign the consent form.

So she has wild passionate sex with this guy on an exercise bench. Can you say cooties? I don't care if it is in his home and it is his personal bench, seems like a great place to pick up some germs.

Then she has a conference with her advisor. Ummm, Professor Alice? Please tell me a gender studies professor doesn't use her first name with "professor" appended. So I am sitting back, waiting to hear this grad student blasted from the program for unethical, unprofessional, unusable behavior. Nope, what we get is a light remonstration, a bit of tsking, oblique references to dead parents and painting.

Again, I kept plowing through. But after an unfortunate encounter in a Starbucks parking lot (where she uses her self-defense prowess to save herself from a study subject), I just couldn't take it anymore. 60%, I am out.

I would delete from my account, but I can see myself mistakenly downloading it again. I don't want to bring back the memories.

Will I continue to read Ms. Galway? Definitely. Will I download samples before I one click? Definitely.

This Time Next Door

This Time Next Door - Gretchen Galway Ya know, I really love it when I get surprised by a book.

I am going through books on my Kindle that I have just downloaded over the years because they were FREE or CHEAP. I have deleted a number of them just a couple of pages in. And since that is really why I am going through them, dumping the trash, I have actually enjoyed doing it.

But this book, I started reading right before bed one night, thinking I could quickly delete and go to sleep. Big mistake.

What a lovely surprise. A big woman with confidence and no problem getting dates. Well, maybe not as confident as she makes herself out to be in public, but still, not the stay-at-home-and-eat-more-cookies-until-Prince-Charming-happens-to-knock-on-my-door-to-borrow-sugar-and-intuits-how-fabulous-I-am type.

And how great is it to read a book where the female protag's legs don't go all the way to heaven, her waist is wasp thin, and, oh, gosh, she is just a darn good person. She wears thigh high boots, dresses to emphasize her boobage, and gosh, she really is a darn good person and doesn't have to be a size 2 to have a man who adores her.

Nope. This a good book with mature people and interesting situations. Okay, so the male protag is a reclusive, rich, computer geek who is a good person, has a great body and loves to pleasure a woman. While not totally believable, it is definitely a fantasy I can enjoy without too much guilt.

Well written, well edited. A couple of typos or just plain wrong words, but just delightful. Really, really delightful. Trying to hold off from doing a glom because those never end well, but my goodness, I am fighting the need to one click my little heart out.

The story has depth, humor, and humanity. There is some hot sex, but you have to wait for it. There are real world concerns and real world situations (excluding that whole secret millionaire situation) that are dealt with in believable, interesting language.

It is weird, but I found this book to be evocative of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, two of my all-time-favorite books.
Bad Boys Do - Victoria Dahl Just lukewarm on the series and the family.

Well written as always by Ms. Dahl.

Just kinda sorta wanted to hit the brothers' heads together.

The romance was hot, fairly believable and a bit of fun.

Not a keeper, though.

Home Field Advantage

Home Field Advantage - Janice Kay Johnson Meh.

I have been on a bit of a Janice Kay Johnson glom. Usually a glom ends when I can say exactly what the next thing to happen will be because most writers do the same schtick, different character names.

That was not the case here. Ms. Johnson has given me a lot of variety in the few books I have read of hers.
But this one, I just didn't like the female protag. She seemed mopey and too introspective, never able to figure out what it was she wanted/needed, other than not what the male protag was giving her apparently. She was very, very sweet, very, very pretty with very, very long legs. And twins. And lots of animals.

For the most part it was an enjoyable read. This is one of the three novels that Ms. Johnson regained her rights to and had put in e-format. It was fine, I don't resent the time I spent reading it, but I did most skim the last 25 percent.

Beauty and the Feast

Beauty and the Feast - Julia Rachel Barrett Meh. More a 2.5 than a full 3.
The writing was fine. I really wanted to enjoy it.
But everybody was too perfect or too evil or too good looking or too hot or too unaware of how fabulous they are or too smart. Too too too.

I will say that the opening scene almost made me DNF it at that point. As the mother of a 21-year-old man, if I found he acted at 18 as the 18-year-old did in this story, he would have found his butt in a sexual awareness/sensitivity class before he knew what hit him.

This book read very much like a '90s genre with lots of hot sex, but not really that much hot sex. It seemed like it really wanted to be an erotic novel, but then it just couldn't go there.

But the foodie in my appreciated that the chef career wasn't just a "currently hot job" choice for the author. Lots of food talk, lots of food for thought. I enjoyed those parts very much. Looking at all the highlights for the food talk, I wasn't the only one that enjoyed those passages. The author really appreciates food and talked about it eloquently.

I was having issues with the book all the way through it, but then at the very end there was a scene between two women that just pushed me over the edge into WTH, and not in a good way. But took me totally out of the book.

There seemed to be a number of substory wannabes that never materialized, an unknown half brother, a evil ex-almost girlfriend who all of a sudden became relatable, a PI who violates client confidentiality to "save the day." Maybe it was just me, but I kept smelling sequel bait.

I will say the author hit one of my pet peeves many times. There were a few editing issues, some missed words, questionable punctuation. BUT she consistently and incorrectly used the wrong form for plural possessive family names. The heroine worked in the White's house, she cooked the White's dinner. Makes me bonkers. If there were just one person in the White family living in that house, that would be fine. But that is not the situation. Yeah, I know, not that big of a deal to most. To me, it can totally take me out of the story, get up on my soapbox, drill the kids to reassure they know the right way, and then huff and puff a while to vent.

All Through The House

All Through The House - Janice Kay Johnson 3.5 stars.

This was originally published in 1992. I don't know if the author had the rights reverted or if the publisher is rereleasing her oldies.

This book definitely has a genre feel to it, and that is what it was originally.

It is well written, with likeable characters and fairly believable situations.

Our heroine is a single mother real estate broker with a new real estate firm (for those that don't like plot moppets, the little girl in this book is not too, too precocious or too, too cute. The mom does have one too-mature-for-a-five-year-old conversation, but just one).

Our hero is a renter in her latest, biggest and best property. He has reasons of his own for keeping the house from being sold, and he take steps to make sure it doesn't sell.
She, of course, sees through his machinations and calls him on it. He just happens to be an architect so they do have that in common, and their overlapping careers do play a part in the ultimate outcome.

A relationship develops. It is a sweet, sexy relationship. The I-will-make-this-house-unattractive-so-you-can't-sell-it issue kind of fades in the background, basically a common joke between them. The house does continue to play a role, it is just not a point of contention between them.

They each have angst and histories that color how they interact. And yeah, there is angst; and yeah, they contradict themselves and their thoughts not a few times.

Again, 1992 genre book, there is going to be a big MIS/perception problem, there is going to be a big OMG, have I lost it all with my bullheadedness/stubbornness/inability to see the picture-ness.

For the most part, it is a well-written, well-edited book. There is a consistent misspelling of MacDonald's (as in the well-known, easily researched even at that time, mega burger chain) and a couple of wrong words. There was a time or two if felt like a thesaurus had been utilized with a word just not quite fitting the situation.

According to the preface of this e-book, there are three of these older books being rereleased. I will probably pick up the other two. This is the second of Ms. Johnson's books I have read. The first was Snowbound. That, too, is a great little read. I did like it a bit more than this one.
Desk Jockey Jam - Ainslie Paton What can I say. Major fan.

Her work would be perfect if only she had a proofer/beta/editor.

She takes us so many different places. We get to watch dancers at work, event planners, rock stars, roller derby babes. Just plain fun.

Her stories have depth. You see the characters evolve, grow. Yeah, there can be instalust, but you see the love grow and flourish; you see and appreciate the grand gesture. And the grand gestures, well, they are certainly expensive and, yeah, grand.

This is the story of Ant, a fairly unlikeable character in Grease Monkey Jive. She doesn't have him be a misunderstood schmo. She shows his maturation, his thought patterns; she shows him find his way. It appears very organic.

But I will say, the HFN/HEA seemed rushed. It was great, believable. It was progressing quickly, logically. Then BAM, all previous doubts, questions, assumptions, gone. That was in about the last 10%. Loved it till then.

Editing issues, spelling issues, punctuation issues abound. Okay, maybe not abound. But there would be question marks instead of periods, no commas, no periods at all. A couple of errors did take me out of the story, but I got back in.

Good Neighbors (Harlequin More Than Words) - Sheila Roberts Epitomizes what is wrong with novellas.
Too shallow, too trite, too quick. Just too many things wrong.

There was nothing horrible about it; there was just nothing good about it, either.

More of a promo piece for a teen program.

There were also formatting issues, misspelled words and run together words.

Crazy Little Thing

Crazy Little Thing - Tracy Brogan Loved this. It was witty, charming and so very well written and edited.

Ms. Brogan has a way with dialogue. Books in first person usually irritate me at least a bit. Not this one. It worked. Sadie, our female protag, had a sense of humor, a self-deprecating style and quite a way of expressing herself.

There is no real grand romance, but there is a lot of fun interaction between Sadie and her man of the book Des.

Yes, there is a gay cousin and a wacky aunt. But there were no derogatory OTT stereotypes. Just lots of family love and respect.

Has a definite chick lit vibe, and I don't say that in a negative way. The romance is not the be all and all.

Just fun. Will definitely look for more of Ms. Brogan's contemporaries. I do have one of her historicals on my Kindle, but I am hesitant to read it because her contemporary voice is so strong and fun. I just don't know how that will work with her historicals.

ETA: I keep going back and forth with the stars rating. I think I have finally decided on the 4. I did have an issue with how quickly the HEA happens after a big MIS. The ex was just too much of a bad guy. The mother was also too stereotypical.

But these are issues I only had in retrospect. While I was reading it, I just wanted to eat it up.

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7) - Lorelei King, Patricia Briggs I loved it. Simple as that.
I expected it to be old news, same old same old (but really, these are never same old same old),

Ms. Briggs does a great job of keeping this series fresh.
Yeah, there is a "formula," as with most genres. The key is keep the script but change it in a way that works, for the author and the reader.

There is humor and sadness, mayhem and gore, but in the end, it was a richly satisfying continuation of the deadly, action packed lives of Mercy and Adam.

Now, if you are reading this for the romance and hot sexy times between, well, anyone, you won't get it in this volume.
Adam and Mercy are apart for the majority of the book, and for a change there was not a secondary lurve couple.

Hiding Hollywood - Ainslie Paton This was my third Paton in a relatively short time. It reminds me why I shouldn't glom.

As always, unique characters/situations/locales. There are no doctors, lawyers, "project managers" in Ms. Paton's worlds.

The descriptors, as always, are evocative of place and state of mind. Well, okay. One descriptor was a bit revolting. A certain something was described as the "shape of nausea." I still have no idea what that means.

Again, editing issues, punctuation issues were ever present. For some reason declarative statements ended in a question mark many times. Of course, sometimes the interrogative declarative sentenced (oxymoron, no?) was preceded or followed by an actual interrogative and guess what???? You got it, a period was used as ending punctuation.

Okay. That's the general Paton feel.

I do enjoy Paton's books. I do, I do, I do. But this one, some of the situations were just OTT. No spoilers but...there was a situation where a building burned, burned almost to the ground. Because of this fire, certain situations were allowed to happen in the book, very much a plot device. But how this situation was handled, umm, no. There is no realistic way any of the subsequent situations could have happened. I had a really hard time reading the book while simultaneously rolling my eyes.
And then, there was a big MIS. But wait, was it really that big? Apparently not. There was a big big MIS buildup, our heroine seemed to think it was a big deal, but then, no not really. Again, I was left a bit confused at actions and reactions.

So why three stars with all these issues? I just love her writing. She makes me want to glom against my better judgment. She makes me want to turn the page, even while rolling my eyes, I do it quickly so I can get right back to it.