Review – Just for Appearances by Jenna Rutland (@entangledpub @jennarutland)

Just for Appearances (Lake Bliss, #2)Just for Appearances by Jenna Rutland

My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

While I found the initial premise a little convenient, in the end it didn’t disrupt my enjoyment of this book at all.

Rachel – being a mother myself WITH the help of their father, I’m in awe of the woman’s ability to raise three children, no, three BOYS alone. She’s done her best and understandably is a little overwhelmed as she tries to get back into the work force. Everyone needs a little help and she’s not ashamed to admit it, even when it ends up coming to her in the form of gorgeous John MacDonald.

John – I liked his motivation for coming to Lake Bliss and the fact that he was incredibly up front from the beginning that he’s only there temporarily. I liked his redemption in the eyes of the town, and his reasons for caring what they thought of him – because he was trying to get a community center built to help kids out.

These two together were spectacular. I loved the way they fought the attraction to one another as long as they could. While the curveball toward the end in the form of Rachel’s ex was a bit over the top and conveniently timed, I didn’t really mind it. It’s category romance and no one does Category like Entangled does these days (not even my beloved Harlequin Presents).

I loved the setting of Lake Bliss and the small-town feeling that the Bliss books all have. This definitely won’t be a miss for all those who enjoy such settings.

Give this book a shot. I have to track down the first one in the series, so that should tell you how much I really enjoyed this book.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Ten Days in Tuscany by Annie Seaton (@annieseaton26 @entangledpub)

Ten Days in Tuscany (Entangled Indulgence) (Men of the Zodiac)Ten Days in Tuscany (Entangled Indulgence) by Annie Seaton My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles This was a great book by Ms. Seaton. There were a few weaknesses in it for me (the slightly over-the-top protectiveness of the dad and Gia’s weakness when it came to what she believed/thought), but other than that, I enjoyed it. Gia – Such a sweetheart. I Ten Days in Tuscany (Entangled Indulgence) (Men of the Zodiac)really liked her, and the development of her over the course of the book (aforementioned weakness issue notwithstanding). I loved watching her flourish in her art and the solidification of knowing what she wanted to do with her life (paint). Nic – I liked the growth of his character over the course of the book, his discovery of something about himself that he’d never really realized, thanks to his interactions with Gia. He really did grow and I appreciated the fact that it didn’t seem forced at all. So, overall, I really liked this book and I continue to enjoy reading books by Ms. Seaton. So glad she’s with Entangled. Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. View all my reviews

Review – His Billion-Dollar Dilemma by Alexia Adams (@entangledpub @alexiaadamsauth)

His Billion Dollar DilemmaHis Billion Dollar Dilemma by Alexia Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 gargoyles

This is a fantastic book.

Simon – yeah, he’s mostly ruthless, but you don’t get to being a billionaire by being a pushover. I enjoyed the fact that he was willing to listen to Helen’s proposal and watch him thaw out when confronted by Helen’s family and friends, slowly falling for Helen along the way. He’s got every reason for being emotionally shut off, which is blatantly clear after Helen and he go to visit his mother.

Helen – I loved her family, particularly her parents when you finally get to meet them. Sunshine and Moonbeam…yeesh. She’s fiercely devoted to her company and her work, but then finds a way to give Simon what he needs/wants while sticking to her own guns (so to speak) regarding the use of her patents.

The dark moment of this book was probably one of the most effective ones I’ve seen. I knew there was something to what Helen does (providing Simon his reason for believing the worst in her), but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how she’d done things to make everyone happy until the story revealed it.

Loved this book all the way from the beginning to the end. Highly recommend reading it!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Rescued by the Rancher by Victoria James (@vicjames101 @entangledpub)

Rescued by the Rancher (Tall Pines Ranch, #2)Rescued by the Rancher by Victoria James

My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

This was a sweet story, though with definite touches of darkness to it. Meredith really pushed herself to get out of the bad situation she’d gotten into, finding herself with her sister. Now tired of being the “perfect girl” she always had to be when she lived at home, she starts “something” (neither can really define it) with Gage.

There are some twists throughout, both with Gage and with Meredith and their families. I really enjoyed how both worked (separately) to solve the Meredith’s family problem and in the end, their solutions ended up being quite complementary (very vague, but trying to avoid spoilers).

Meredith’s old loss that haunts her in the wake of some fantastic news from her sister really resonated with me. I nearly cried with her as she related what had happened and the guilt she felt over it to Gage.

Gage – he was awesome. That’s pretty much it.

Sorry this is a discombobulated mess of a review, but I really enjoyed it and there was a ‘lot’ to the story.

Check it out if you get the chance. It’s worth the read and a bargain at the price.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Bite at First Sight by Brooklyn Ann (@sourcebookscasa @Brooklyn_Ann)

Bite at First Sight (Scandals with Bite, #3)Bite at First Sight by Brooklyn Ann

My rating: 3 of 5 gargoyles

I’ll be honest – I didn’t like the first book in this series and I haven’t read the second book. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I definitely enjoyed parts (if not all) of this book.

The likes: totally cool how the heroine meets the hero, digging up bodies in a graveyard because she wants to study them. It makes perfect sense, and I could suspend disbelief on the issue of whether a proper young lady would have done things like that. I liked the growing world and explanation of the vampires and how things run, along with several new characters introduced (including other Lords in England).

Rafe was charming and I was fascinated by what Cassandra does with and for him (not sexually, but as a physician). Cassandra – I really felt her frustration with a system that wouldn’t let her do what she loved, become an actual doctor.

I still found a lot of the dialogue and situations to be fairly implausible/unrealistic, even given it’s a paranormal romance, because of the period it was set in (major gripe with the first book), but I will say this. Ms. Ann has a great imagination, good world building, and definitely can plot out a book. It was simply the execution of those features that I felt was lacking.

I’ll definitely keep watching her future releases though since clearly (to my mind) she’s improving with each book.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Blush by Cherry Adair (@cherryadair, @gallerybooks)

BlushBlush by Cherry Adair

5 of 5 gargoyles!

I don’t rush out to read Cherry Adair, but I do generally enjoy her books. This wasn’t an exception to that.

Things I particularly enjoyed: Mia being the rich and (theoretically) powerful CEO. She’s obviously afraid, given the whole “someone’s out to kill her” thing, but she’s taking advantage of going into hiding by using the time to do things she never had time to do when acting as CEO. Cruz – he’s an assassin, but doesn’t kill just anyone. He only takes on projects that he believes are just (killing dirty politicians, etc). He might have started out being hired to kill Mia, and indeed had plenty of evidence to do the deed, but then ends up listening to his gut when it tells him something’s wrong with the picture.

The only thing that occasionally drew me back from the book was Cruz’s continued “Oh, I’ll screw her but it’s just going to make the kill sweeter” attitude through a very big portion of the book. It got repetitive and less believable each time he did it.

The plot was rich and rife with suspense, trying to pinpoint just who the villain behind everything really was. I will admit to being surprised by it, which is always great for me. I was glad to see these two find their way to being together and hope there will be more books of this nature from Ms. Adair in the future.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes (@sourcebookscasa, @graceburrowes)

The Duke's Disaster (True Gentlemen, #0.5)The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes

My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

Ahhh, beloved Grace Burrowes. Whenever I settle in for one of your books, I know I’m in for a treat and you have almost never disappointed me. This book was no exception.

Noah and Thea were a beautiful couple. What sets this book in particular apart from most of the historical romances is that it DIDN’T feature the oh-so-typical routs and rides in the park, and all of the stuff happening. No. The bulk of this book takes place AFTER the wedding. Noah’s proposal to Thea, to my mind, really was more like what proposals were probably like back in the period. Business arrangements, with everyone getting something out of it (granted, women didn’t get much in the grand scheme, other than a bit more freedom).

Both carried secrets and both had a heavy burden on them. It’s not easy being a duke when said duke takes his responsibilities to heart. Noah is the picture of what a proper man should be – he’s serious about those in his care, and will protect his own. He’s understandably upset about Thea’s little secret, but the book didn’t focus on that. The two worked through it with little uproar.

Thea – she might have been raised a Lady, and had a peer for a brother, but she didn’t shirk away from doing what she thought necessary to take care of her family, even if it meant putting herself into service as a companion. I loved her attitude toward life in general and was happy to see her get a happy ending.

Nice cast of secondary characters and I look forward to more in this particular series. This didn’t make me cry like one of Ms. Burrowes’ more recent books, but I don’t need to cry to enjoy a book.

So – highly recommend. Check it out!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review – Wait for Me / Trust in Me by Samantha Chase (@samanthachase3 @sourcebookscasa)

Wait for Me / Trust in MeWait for Me / Trust in Me by Samantha Chase

My rating: 3 of 5 gargoyles

I found this book to be okay. Not fantastic, not bad, just…meh. My biggest problem was the feeling of head-hopping. At one point I think we were in three different POVs in the space of a page. Lucas in particular seemed a bit immature, though I do get his problem and wanting to retreat from the world.

Wait For Me – Lucas’s injury would be devastating for a pro athlete, but his total retreat from the world seemed a bit ridiculous. Emma – I really liked her for the most part, though during the blackest moment of the book, I thought she was a bit ridiculous as well at the lengths she went to. I enjoyed seeing her make a career shift, but felt it came too quickly and easily when there had been relatively little hint she wanted to shift jobs, and then when she did it came so effortlessly/convenient (deus ex machine perhaps). The final “I love yous” were sweet, but again the thing that drove them apart just seemed over the top to me.

Trust in Me – I enjoyed Trust more than I did Wait, and I think in part because both of the characters felt more realistic and grounded than those in Wait. Jason was a good man (a bit egotistical perhaps, but given apparently every woman wants to marry him maybe he has room for ego), and genuinely comes to appreciate and admire Maggie. I felt the genuine growth in both characters and believed in their path toward romance. The one stumbling block for me to bar it from liking it more than I did was toward the end when Jason has his showdown with the jerk from Maggie’s past. I felt, again, that the whole thing seemed a bit unrealistic and, surprisingly given it’s a Sourcebooks book, badly edited. I felt like something, maybe a page or two, went missing somehow because there was no hint of what was about to happen, just POOF, Maggie walks in and (of course) leaps to the wrong conclusion. Still, the make-up was lovely.

What for me saved both books was I loved William (the meddling dad). I really enjoyed watching him try to maneuver his kids into finding what he clearly has with his wonderful wife.

So – this is a hit AND miss for me. Still, I’ll continue reading Ms. Chase’s work in the future.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Tory’s Rumbling Ramblings (4/8/15)

Hey there everyone! I know, it’s been a while (a month or so) since I posted an actual chatty post rather than just reviews, and was quiet for a while. Sorry ’bout that. I’ve just been brooding. Still am, but oh well.

Easter

Easter was this past Sunday and for the first time we actually did an egg hunt at home. We’ve been going to church and/or community ones the last few years. It was a first for the girls. It was awesome – I hid the eggs inside and out. And then, in theory, to stop them from getting up and going egg-hunting without an adult present, I slept on the couch. Well, let’s just say that didn’t stop them. By midnight, and without even coming out of her room, Pixie found the two hidden in her room and ate the contents, going right back to sleep. Blondie went to the bathroom around 3:30 and found the egg in the glass there, and one that was on the dishwasher on her way back to bed. Shrimp tried getting up at 3:30 to watch cartoons…yeah, that didn’t work. Then finally everyone (save Daddy) got up around six and the hunt was on.

I told them that the Easter Bunny had texted me that there were more eggs hidden outside, but they had to wait for the sun to come up. Meanwhile there was much candy eating. And waiting. Not patiently either.

And then of course, once Daddy was up, we loosed the hounds, er, kids.

That was fun. The funner part was they kept finding more after I’d thought they’d found everything. There was much sugar-induced psychoness. And then we had a very nice dinner that evening. We even used a table cloth! Proof:

We actually DO have a table cloth!

We actually DO have a table cloth!

On Writing

Wow…not much to say on this matter. Sealed has stalled out, though I know why and I keep telling myself to write crap – I can fix crap, I can’t fix a blank page, or however the phrase goes. But something’s just locked up inside me.

I’m actually trying to plot out a contemporary romance, eyeing the Bliss line. Completely out of character for me, Ms.Paranormal or Bust, but we shall see.

On Failures

I think it’s pretty clear Locked is a total bust, which is probably why I’ve been dragging my heels on Sealed. Part of me just wants to give up altogether because that’s four books out, and four miserable failures. On the other hand, I got a book published with Entangled, an incredible publisher, directly competing (and in some cases beating) Harlequin’s lines in certain sales arenas and categories. Not bad for a baby (age-wise, given they only opened their doors in 2011) publisher.

Basically, I’m feeling like a total failure in pretty much everything these days. Work – oh yeah, they supposedly love me and depend on me, but I screw up a lot. I try so hard and I always mess up. I never see the little details. Which is probably why, as of last night, I flunked out of editing school. Sigh. Yes, I hadn’t really shared much about that, but I was going through an editing class in hopes of becoming an editor (figured if I couldn’t write, I could help others), and that too is a bust. Yet another screw-up.

Hobbies

So, when all else fails (aka my writing’s a bust and I’m feeling sorry for myself…or just because I need to kill things), I dive back into video games and books. I’m still playing Final Fantasy XIV (there’s a huge expansion coming out in a couple of months). Trying to actually get some high-end gear and all that – making progress there with my bard, which I enjoy doing because it doesn’t require a lot of thinking, just point and shoot so to speak (bards use bows). If you happen to play FFXIV and are on the Goblin¬†server,¬†feel free to look for me (Rory Masterson – yeah, yeah, I have no imagination for names)

Of course, I’m also a rabid reader. I went through a glut of Bliss books and wow…there’s some major good books that take place in the small-town type of setting by Entangled authors.

What sort of hobbies do you have?

In Conclusion

So, that’s pretty much it for this posting. Hope to hear from some of you about how things are going, or how you deal with life when it seems like nothing’s going well.

Later!

Review – Darkness Eternal by Alexandra Ivy (#bookreview, #review)

Darkness Eternal (Guardians of Eternity, #7.5)Darkness Eternal by Alexandra Ivy

My rating: 3 of 5 gargoyles

These was decent, but unfortunately I just didn’t connect to the characters as much as I would have liked.

The plot was a bit different, witch held prisoner for centuries by her evil twin. Uriel. Uriel I really liked because he was torn between duty (he was ordered to get his hands on her) and hating her because of the evil Kata’s sister did.

The race through Hell and running into a demon who held something over Uriel was thrilling, especially when we discover the ties said demon had to Kata as well.

The world building was great, and it made for a decent interval novella between Immortals books. I just wasn’t that into it unfortunately. Still, quick and easy read. Always enjoyable.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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