Monthly Archives: July 2014

Suffragette Scandal (The Brothers Sinister, Volume 4)

5 out of 5 stars

Huzzah! This was, surprisingly, one of my favorite books by Courtney Milan! Surprising because I’ve read everything she’s published (and thought, how much better can it get) and because I initially didn’t like our main character, Free, when she was first introduced (as a side character in her brother’s book). BUT — I think this is probably one of her best. Free and Edward are both totally believable characters who are layered and conflicted in meaningful and easy-to-relate-to ways. It’s got a wonderful historical backdrop in terms what it meant to be a suffragette at the time (the sexism from not only men, but also other women). The side characters get legitimate side plots (though they’re almost too perfect sometimes), the main characters help one another grow as they fall in love… and overall, really, I feel like this is one of her best.

THAT SAID — I don’t think it’s for everyone. (Spoiler Alert!!!) I don’t know what the traditional romance reader looks for, but there’s homosexual characters/side plots, a lot of detail on unfair treatment towards women of the time, and it’s definitely not the traditional alpha-male-meets-helpless-virgin historical romance in terms of sexual norms and stereotypes. I loved it, but I can see why some people would struggle with this.

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Posted in Romance

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda (Tara Lee Reed)

 

 4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:

Love, love, love the concept of this one. Tara Lee Reed’s debut novel is a wonderful blend of dating do’s and don’ts combined with choose-your-own-adventure with a dose of single-in-the-city. Every few pages, “you” get to make choices for a protagonist who’s currently on the rebound: is she out for a night with the gals to unwind? Does she take the number of the cute, sexy finance guy who’s more date-material than rebound-material? Does she give him her number? Do they kiss on the first date? Does she call after one day or wait the Swingers-rule-of-three? It’s completely fun and absolutely wonderful on an e-reader (I think back to all the time I wasted, flipping actual pages as a pre-teen reading such books). The reason I’m giving it 4-stars instead of 5? Though I totally loved the idea and thought it was generally executed well, it’s hard to know what outcome (if any) I really liked. There are sad endings and a couple happy ones, as well as a slew of in-between girl-you’re-better-off-without-him endings. As a completionist, I had to go through all the endings and am left not really knowing how I feel. It’s different than the choose-your-own-adventures I read as a kid because the ending you “want” isn’t clear (clearer detail below). That said, it was a super fun, super quick read (I think I got to my first “ending” within five minutes?) and definitely recommended.

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Posted in book promotion

A Mashup Made in Heaven (Guest post by Tara Lee Reed)

Booknosh.com is pleased to welcome author and guest blogged Tara Lee Reed — who writes about her loves of mashups in general, as well as some of her inspiration for her debut novel Coulda Woulda Shoulda  (book review tomorrow).

One of my favourite memories is my first mashup (at least the first I can recall). I was seven or eight years old, and my sister and I would switch on reruns of The Muppet Show, turn down the sound on the TV, and turn up the volume on the record player, blaring one of our mother’s Motown records—two of our favourite things. Then we’d laugh at how well, and how often, the mouths of the excitable, fuzzy creatures would sync up with the words. (Come to think of it, it was very Jim Henson of us.) Read more ›

Posted in book promotion

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up


Recommended, Repeatable

This is the best pop-up book we’ve ever owned. The details are wonderfully rendered, and the individual pages have small, book inserts, that are also pop-ups. In terms of actual knowledge/facts, there are probably better books out there, in terms of just illustrations, detail of pop-ups, I don’t think I’ve ever seen its equal. If your kid like dinosaurs… this is a must-own.

Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Reckless (Amanda Quick)

3 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This has what seems to be a normal formula for Quick. We have a reckless, impulsive heroine who’s fearless (but can also be a tad foolish in that she often underestimates the threats she’s walking into). We’re introduced to an alpha male who’s outwardly more committed to things like vengeance and mistakes-of-his-past, but really just waiting for the right female to reach through the layers. There’s a lot of small twists and additional characters, and it’s a fun, quick read… but also, a bit on the forgettable side. I think my first couple Quick books were the most memorable, and since then, though I find her works to always be enjoyable, I also put them down after finishing and barely remember what happened…

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Posted in Romance

A Kingdom of Dreams (Judith McNaught)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
The ending was actually well-written and emotionally compelling… but by then, I’m not positive how much I cared. I found the prisoner-captor romance to be not-particularly compelling, and though the main protagonist (a war veteran/general) is well-drawn as a soldier who’s more than ready to lay down arms, our main heroine is only kind-of interesting (she keeps trusting her family/father despite how abusive they’ve been, she often seems to willfully misunderstand the hero). There are also continued power differentials between our main hero and heroine, as well as (major spoiler) the accidental killing of a probably-innocent-and-well-meaning man by the main hero… all of which kept me from connecting more deeply with these characters.

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Posted in Romance

Until You (Judith McNaught, Book #3)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
There are a lot of tropes and long, drawn-out misunderstandings in this novel. You’ve got the governess/companion who falls in love with the lord. Amnesia. Mistaken-assumed-identity following the amnesia. Grand, overly-dramatic misunderstandings. Well-meaning friends. Bird-witted relatives. Yeah, there’s a little bit of everything. Though both of our main protagonists have very interesting moments, the book is ultimately weighed down by deceptions that go on far, far, far too long, and misunderstandings that drag, and drag when simple, rational conversation could have solved them. Despite small moments of levity and tenderness, I was so frustrated with the protagonists (and their inability to think through their actions) that I had trouble finishing the book!

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Posted in Romance

Lord of Temptation (Lorraine Heath, Lost Lords #2)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This love story is all about choices… and in some case, sacrifices. Though the hero and heroine are almost immediately attracted to one another (ok, he desires her immediately, she finds him both fascinating/intriguing and irritating/upsetting), they’re held apart by their vastly different expectations of what they think they want. She’s already loved and lost once (her fiance died of cholera during the war) and wants nothing more than to somehow move on, get married, and settle down. He has been at sea since he was 14 years old, and in some ways, he’s not sure he could ever be tied down to a normal, landlocked life. Their relationships definitely stems from physical attraction, eventually builds to something more, and is interesting because even as they’re not-choosing-each-other, it’s not from misunderstanding or other outside calamity. It’s more that they both seem to recognize that being together might involve sacrifices neither of them are fully prepared to make. Though it’s ultimately more his sacrifice than hers, and their relationship just wasn’t as emotionally moving as some other romances (I just found some of the behavior, especially earlier on, a little contrived), it’s a solid, definitely-above-average read, more so if you’re into the idea of ships and seafaring.

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Posted in Romance

The Taste of Innocence (Stephanie Laurens, Cynster #14)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Most of this novel is the same kind of alpha, very elegant on the surface, but very overprotective and controlling deep down, male meets his true match. They’re socially and emotionally compatible, passionate, etc. and in this particular case, they’ve actually known each other for most of their lives (being neighbors), which means that the main barriers to their happily-ever-after are two things: 1. our hero, Charlie, has a deep fear/distrust of the idea of “love” and also 2. there’s a villain/murdered side plot. Most of this is true to the Laurens formula, and it’s pretty well executed here. Charles and Sarah are likable protagonists (other than Charlie’s crazily-intense fear of being in love), and their journey is both sensual and emotional. It’s a 4-star for me because the villain/side plot isn’t only completely predictable, but also spirals a little into crazy-land in the final couple of chapters, heightening the drama to an almost laughable degree, and drawing me out of the main story.

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Posted in Romance