Mini Book Reviews: Romance

It’s time for a few NetGalley reviews. This time around I read a couple of romances.

Once A Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

Mary Jo Putney is a historical romance veteran. I haven’t read one of her books a in a while and was pleased to read this one.

Once A Soldier is the love story of Will Masterson and Athena Markham. Will has been a soldier in the Napoleonic wars and has been asked to go to the small country of San Gabriel to scope it out for political reasons. There he meets Athena, the illegitimate daughter of an English Lord and an infamous San Gabriel woman. She is currently helping her best friend, the princess, run this small country until the King is released by the French – if he’s still alive.

This book is one of those slow-moving romances. There is a ton of political talk and it adds to the book, because it was well thought out and it shows these characters personalities well. I appreciated that Will and Athena started out by being friends and having a healthy respect for one another. I hate in when people jump into bed together immediately, especially in historical novels. Some may find this book a bit slow, but it was relaxing to me.

It is the start of a series. The beginning chapter is showing a group of men who are all captured, all spies and solders, and all lying, and how they escape. I assume the next books will be some of their stories.

Follow Me by Tiffany Snow

This book follows China Mack. She is a genius computer programmer working for the best tech company. She’s living a very ordered life with a bit of the hots for her boss (everyone has the hots for the boss), and she likes it that way. Then Jackson, the boss, chooses China for a top-secret programming job for the government. Then people involved in this contract start getting killed. It’s difficult for China on multiple levels because her orderly life starts going awry – her niece moves in, a sexy (suspicious to me) neighbor moves in and she suddenly has a dating life, plus she’s being followed by unknown persons.

This was a fun romantic suspense book. I’m a sucker for this genre and for nerdy smart, but socially clueless, women in books. China is one of those. I wasn’t a fan of the sudden love triangle in the book. She’s never had a date and then suddenly her next door neighbor AND her boss are  after her? Come on. I also didn’t understand what was going on with all the computer stuff. It was a bit glossed over and I do like a bit more juicy computer geekery in this sort of book.

There is a sort-of cliffhanger. Things get wrapped up, but new things happen. (Sorry so cryptic!)  If you liked it, you will want to continue with this series. I liked it, so now I’m impatiently waiting. Maybe we’ll see more of Jackson’s nerdiness in the next books?

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing these eARCs in exchange for review.



March 2016 Reading Wrap-Up

What a busy month it has been! I did a lot of reading on vacation, then I petered out. Most likely this was because I didn’t read anything spectacular. I could really use a fantastic book soon.

  1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I wrote a review of this one for the Back to the Classics 2016 Challenge 2/5
  2. The Girl from Everywhere by Heide Heilig I honestly don’t even remember this one. 3/5
  3. Starflight by Melissa Landers. Another one I don’t remember. 3/5
  4. Devonshire Scream by Laura Childs 3/5
  5. Beyond the Red by Ava Jae 3/5
  6. Driving With the Top Down by Beth Harbison 4/5
  7. Dryland by Sara Jaffe 2/5
  8. Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Isla 1/5
  9. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson 2/5
  10. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy . I liked this one better!!! 3/5
  11. Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach. 3/5
  12. The Night Charter by Sam Hawken 4/5
  13. The  Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 4/5
  14. Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty 3/5
  15. Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor 3/5
  16. The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell 4/5
  17. Summerlost by Ally Condie. Slow start, but worth it. 4/5
  18. A Tyranny of Petticoats by Various. DNF. I still don’t enjoy short stories no matter the author. Sorry.

As I was typing the titles and ratings it was sad. Most of these I only vaguely remember reading. Maybe this is what a reading slump is for me, where I can read a good book and still not enjoy it? I hope April is better. Quality over quantity, right?



January Reading Wrap-Up

When you can’t dance, read!

Mount TBR – my own books that I read

  • See How They Run by Ally Carter 5/5
  • Illuminate by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof 3/5
  • Itch Rocks by Simon Mayo 4/5
  • Space Dumplins by Craig Thomson 4/5
  • Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins 4/5
  • Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen 3/5
  • The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey 3/5
  • Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl 4/5
  • Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi 3/5

Back to the Classics 2016 – all these were reviewed on this blog and came from the library

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell 3/5
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 4/5
  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells 2/5

Library Books

  • A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean 4/5

NetGalley Reviews

  • Radioactive! by Winifred Conkling 4/5

Although this looks like great reading, I added 9 books to my physical TBR. Basically, I replaced all the books that I read. I’m trying very hard to have a smaller physical book TBR. I care some about my eBooks, but not as much as the books taking up physical space. Next month I would like to read more than I buy. Happy reading, everybody!

December Reading Wrap-Up and End of Year Stats

When it came to reading, December was a good as the weather. A whole lot of Blah with a nice day thrown in.

I finished:

My Physical TBR

  • New York by Edward Rutherfurd 5/5 (I know, it took me months to finish!)
  • Vortex by Julie Cross 4/5
  • Timestorm by Julie Cross 4/5
  • Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen 3/5

For Review from NetGalley

  • Passenger by Alexandra Braken 4/5
  • Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer 3/5
  • Chloe in India by Kate Darnton 4/5
  • Kidding Around NYC by Suzanne Roche 3/5


  • The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg 3/5
  • Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling 3/5

According to my Goodreads, in 2015 I read 198 books and 60,152 pages! I read a lot of books because I tend to read shorter books. I’d really like to get to some of my larger novels this year. We’ll see how that goes. Have a great weekend, everyone.

ARC Book Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer


On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years. 

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

From the cover and the synopsis, this was just the book I was looking for. A little romance to end the year. I figured it was a romantic mystery. I was partly right. It is dark and a bit twisted. It is not lighthearted like the cover suggests. At around 70% this book turned creepy on me. The end didn’t leave me feeling very optimistic for anyone. Not quite what I was looking for.

On the other hand, it was a quick read. It paced well. I have no complaints with the writing. It was just not what I was looking for. Creepy doesn’t work well for me.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review.

ARC Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken


passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever


If you like
1. Time Travel
2. Pirates
3. Adventure
… this is a book for you! The writing is engaging. I’ve never read Alexandra Bracken’s work before, but I feel like I should.

The first 3/4 of the book sped by. The reason I gave took away a star is because the book hurtled to a halt for the “suddenly we’re in love and we forgot we’re on a timed search because we just looooooove each other” moment. I love a romance. This one moved to quick and with too much emphasis at the wrong time.

Things sped up again toward the end and left me wanting the next book. This is sad because I read an ARC; the first book isn’t officially out yet. I guess I’ll have to read it again next year. 4/5 Stars.

Passenger is out in the US on January 5, 2016. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the eARC.

November TBR – #ReadKidsLit

I don’t normally make TBR’s because I am such a mood reader, but I participated in #ReadKidsLit last year and loved it, so I want to participate again. This is the announcement video by Words of a Reader:

I have a plethora of Middle Grade books to choose from. I read DD’s books before she does (sometimes). I have to read some of them before her since I homeschool her and need to ask appropriate questions. I have a few middle grade books on my NetGalley list to read, as well.

Here’s my tentative TBR:

  • Poached by Stuart Gibbs (for fun)
  • Nick and Tesla series, books 3, 4, 5 (NetGalley)
  • Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai (for homeschool)
  • Seaside by Wylde Scott (NetGalley)
  • Radioactive! by Winifred Conkling (NetGalley)
  • Chloe in India by Kate Darnton (NetGalley)
  • Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson (for fun)

Last year I lasted about two weeks before I had a desire to read some adult books. We’ll see what happens this year. I may change up the TBR some as I really do have a lot of middle grade books to read and enjoy. Maybe others of you will participate as well. Use the hashtag if you do and join in the fun!

September Reading Wrap Up

I rediscovered NetGalley this month and requested and got approval for a lot more books than I thought I would considering my newbie status. This can be a good thing, but in my case, it led to some reading stress.

Library Books

  • Past Perfect by Leila Sales 3/5
  • Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins 3/5
  • Rock Hard by Nalini Singh 2/5
  • Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go… by Diana Rogers 3/5

Review Books

  • Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager 5/5
  • Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager 4/5
  • The Scam by Janet Evanovich 4/5
  • Deal Breakers by Laura Lee 2/5
  • Things I’ve Said to My Children by Nathan Ripperger 3/5
  • Nick and Tesla’s High Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder 4/5 *Written review of first three books coming this month
  • Coco and The Little Black Dress by Annemarie van Haeringen 3/5
  • The Girl’s Guide to Getting Hitched by Sophie Hart 4/5
  • Time’s Divide by Rysa Walker 5/5
  • Tea Culture: History, Traditions, Celebrations, Recipes & More by Beverly Dubrin 4/5


  • Flush by Carl Hiaason 4/5
  • Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt 4/5
  • How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell 3/5

Off My Shelves

  • My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten 3/5
  • Air Plants by Zenaida Sengo 4/5

Currently, I have about 6 books started and I’m not interested in any of them. I’m in a very funky mood, so we’ll see what happens in October. Happy reading!

Summer Life Wrap-Up

It’s about that time. Summer was great, but fall is in the air. I feel like thinking about the stuff I’ve done (or not) this summer.

  • I danced in my first Showcase.
  • I read nearly all the books I planned to.
  • Walked the Brooklyn Bridge with my mom and daughter.
  • Visited the World Trade Center Memorial.
  • Swam. A lot.
  • Finished with my Invisalign treatment. Permanent retainer in place.
  • Introduced my daughter to all the disgusting, chemical laden candy of my childhood. (War Heads, anyone?)
  • Visited NY Botanical Garden. Enjoyed the Frida Kahlo exhibit. (Daughter keeps asking if she has a unibrow.)
  • Did not go on a vacation. Booooo.
  • Ended up doing no homeschool with my daughter. I wanted to, but we were burnt out after last year and needed the break.
  • Had two nasty colds.
  • Subscribed to Geek Box. I love it!
  • Subscribed to Book Riot Quarterly Boxes. Love them! Now I just need to read the books that came.
  • Daughter seems to be losing all her teeth. All those molars!
  • I got a pedicure. (Yes, only one.)
  • Decided with Daughter that she would like to focus on gymnastics this year. Goodbye Ballet and Tap. I’m a bit sad, but she turned 11 and knows what she likes.
  • Visited Harney and Sons Soho for tea.
  • Rediscovered NetGalley.
  • Recalled why I stopped using NetGalley. (Must review all those books!)

There’s my Summer in a nutshell. Nothing earth shattering. I hope others had a wonderful summer. Looking forward to what Autumn brings!

Picture Book Mini-Reviews

I’ve read a few picture books this past week from NetGalley that I feel like I should review. I plan to use two in my homeschool this year, so they’re worth checking out. I’m not good with adding links and such, but all of these books are on Goodreads.

Things I’ve Said to My Children by Nathan Ripperger

Parents – Listen to yourselves. You could then add to this book. You say funny things. About the book: I thought is was cute. The pictures were funny and correlated to the crazy things being said. I wouldn’t buy it for myself, but I think it would be a good gift to give to expecting parents. 🙂

Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager

This book does just what it says it will. You will never forget what a participle is again. It starts with a small lesson, then goes on to give a wrong and then a right sentence. Let me tell you, the examples are funny! The pictures make them even funnier. Great book that I will be using in my homeschool very soon.

Ivy In Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past by Vanita Oelschlager

To be honest, I’m not sure why I loved this book so much. Maybe because children’s poetry is all I can understand. Or perhaps it was the clever way the Bibliography was put together. Maybe it was the inspired pictures. The progression from black and white to full color was amazing, as was the way the paintings looked so textured. All of the above? Five stars from me and guaranteed use during Poetry April with my daughter.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing these eBooks in exchange for an honest review.