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.

 

Subscription Boxes, TBR’s, and (lack of) Money

Last year I jumped onto the subscription box bandwagon. I believe it started from watching booktube videos of all the cute things in the book boxes, then I started following blogs that review boxes, etc. To be honest, I’m more of a watcher than a buyer, but I have tried a few. I thought that I’d give a little rundown on the book boxes I’ve tried. The disclaimer: I bought these boxes with my own money, for my own enjoyment. I am not affiliated with them in any way.

OwlCrate – This box chooses a monthly theme and sends a YA book that relates to that theme. It’s a new release YA. You also get cute bookish items that also relate to the theme. I like this box when the theme is right. I don’t like high fantasy books with all that magic in them. This can be a problem in a YA book box. I’ve bought 4 of these total.

LitCube – Another box based on a theme. It comes with a book, a wearable, and an edible. This book sends both adult and YA books. They tend to be under the radar type books. I prefer this box when it sends adult reads. Again, the YA books tend to be too magical for my taste. This is my favorite theme box. I’m a regular subsciber and have received more than 6 boxes.

The Best Damn Book Box – A theme box with a YA book and fangirly items. I only bought one box from them. Although the items were lovely, the book was #2 in a series I didn’t plan to read. My blood pressure went up a bit here because I don’t believe any book box should send out a second or greater book in a series. I don’t care how popular the series is.

Muse Monthly – I love this box. It’s a book and tea. That’s it. The tea in some way relates to the book. The wonderful thing about this is that you know what the book is ahead of time. If it’s something your not interested in, you don’t have to purchase it. I’ve only gotten 1 box from them, but I will buy another when the time is right.

Book of the Month – Every month you get a choice between 5 adult books. If you don’t like your choices, you can skip that month. If you like more than on book, or you suffer from remorse that you didn’t get a book the month before, you can add it to your order. I don’t know how they do this for so cheap. These are new release books! This subscription is the best bang for your buck, hands down. No frills. Just a book, a note about why that book was chosen, and a bookmark. Who needs all that extra stuff? I’ve been subscribed for many months now. I love it.

Bookly Box – You choose your genre (from picture books all the way to business books), you get a box with a few tea bags, post it notes and a book. You can change genres any time. The great thing about this box is that they donate a book to a community in need for every box sold. So far I’m pleased.

 

All these boxes lead to a giant pile of books. Most of them are still unread because I already had a pile to begin with! Trying to find a balance between keeping up with the new and catching up with the old is becoming increasingly difficult. To add to this, these boxes aren’t cheap. I signed up for more dance lessons and for a dance comp so funds are tighter than usual. I decided to keep Bark Box (already paid for and not talked about here), Book of the Month (already paid for – may use skip option for a few months) and Bookly Box for now. They may need to go sometime, too. The rest I had to cancel and many I won’t get to try out any time soon. I own over 300 unread books, so I think I’m fine. 😀 Do you have any subscription boxes that you love? How is everyone else doing with their TBR?

Classic Book Review: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Winner of the 1933 Femina Vie Heureuse Prize, COLD COMFORT FARM is a wickedly funny portrait of British rural life in the 1930s. Flora Poste, a recently orphaned socialite, moves in with her country relatives, the gloomy Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, and becomes enmeshed in a web of violent emotions, despair, and scheming, until Flora manages to set things right.

I’ve had a difficult time trying to put my review in words. The movie of this book is one of my favorite movies ever. If you like British humor and complete randomness, I highly recommend you watch it. I also highly recommend that you read this book. The movie and book were closely related (for once). Mr. Mybug was hilariously awful! Everything he says has a link to sex. I completely identified with Flora’s need to put everything to rights. No one meddles quite like Flora Poste.

And what does Aunt Ada see in that woodshed, anyway?

I read this book with pleasure for the Back to the Classics 2016 Challenge.

Classic Book Review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Goodreads Blurb: First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

Wow! Now I know where all those movies and tv shows got their idea from. This was the movie Clue on steroids. I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel before, and now that I have, I understand why she is such a well loved author. I couldn’t figure out who did it! You could argue for any of them right up to the end. The writing was fast-paced and not scary. If you’re like me, you tend to shy away from classics because of the long-winded sentences and large words. There is no worry of that here. Pick it up and read it, already! 4/5 stars

Note: If you’re a stickler for political correctness, beware. Take note of what the original title was and pass.

This fulfills one of my requirements for the Back to the Classics 2016 Challenge

ARC Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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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.

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

Audiobooks

  • 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!

Book Review: Time’s Divide by Rysa Walker

Attention! Time’s Divide is the third book in a time travel series. Go and pick up Timebound (the first novel) if you like the sound of time travel. I don’t go into details in my review, but the Goodreads blurb is below.

The Cyrists are swiftly moving into position to begin the Culling, and Kate’s options are dwindling. With each jump to the past or the future, Kate may trigger a new timeline shift. Worse, the loyalties of those around her—including the allegiances of Kiernan and the Fifth Column, the shadowy group working with Kate—are increasingly unclear.

Kate will risk everything, including her life, to prevent the future her grandfather and the Cyrists have planned. But, when time runs out, it may take an even bigger sacrifice to protect the people she loves.

This was one of my must reads of 2015 and it didn’t disappoint! These books are so complicated. I’m not sure how the author kept all the timelines and shifts and jumps in clear in her head to write this. I’m completely amazed.

As far as I’m concerned, this is doing time travel right. I love the historical details of the time periods and the different historical people. The ending was as good as it gets when you have a story as complicated as this one. I recommend marathoning all three or you will forget details (as I did). Totally worth a read.

Giant thank you to the publishers and to NetGalley for providing this eBook in exchange for an honest review. You made my year.