A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Summary

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Characters

I was not very fond of Diana for most of the book. Her strong points seemed more like flaws most of the time. Made it really hard to connect and like her. Michael was another creature all together. I found his chapter very enjoyable…and then I was like, why aren’t there more? It is like it introduces him and his point of view and then abandons it for over half the book. I liked a lot of the supporting characters but some of them were a little bland. There were also a few times it felt like it left Diana’s point of view which was confusing.

Plot

Diana doesn’t want to be a witch. Her parents are dead because they were witches but her magic isn’t listening very well. Which is only made worse when she stumbles onto the Ashmore and then a vampire. A love story wrapped in a historical bow with a dash of magic and mayhem.

This plot winds around and constantly says it is going to do one thing and then does something else. It would be like going shopping for milk but getting distracted by bread and then the eggs because we might need those too. The story was never straight forward so be prepared.

Overall

For what this book was…it was way too long. I nearly quit reading this book multiple times, only sticking with it because I was so impressed by the research and the fact that it had been recommended to me. I enjoyed it overall but I won’t be reading any more of the series. Amazing amount of research was done to make the historical aspects seemingly flawless. It was punctuated by a romance that would have been more enjoyable if it had been more believable. I get being attracted quickly and even loving quickly but they jumped into the deep end super quickly and I just had a hard time jumping into the deep end with them.

Rating

3.5 Stars (round down)

If you love the writing of historical novels that have paranormal romantic plots, this is a must read. It just wasn’t for me.

Where I got a copy?

Purchased at a local bookstore—Fireside Books.

Advertisements

The Baby Plan by Joan Carney

Summary

Tick, tock…

The itch of ‘baby lust’ has prickled just under the surface of Tessa’s skin since she turned thirty. Five years have passed since her thirtieth birthday, and her obsessive nature has stoked the minor irritation into a full-blown fertility frenzy. She’s given up waiting for the right man to put a ring on her finger and, instead, decides to actively seek out a man with the right genes who will give her the child she wants with no further involvement. Love wasn’t in the plan, but Karma had other ideas.

Amazon Link

Characters

I’m really impressed with the characters in this story. Mostly because they both are flawed and have issues. One if a former gambler and the other one has obsessive compulsive disorder. Tessa is an accountant with a great career but no family. Michael is a bit of playboy with no plans for a family, but is attracted to Tessa. Craziness ensues. Tessa is very resilient but is also can be whiny. Side note Tessa’s family is terrible and awful. There is head-hopping off an on throughout the book, which could be distracting, but you do get both Michael’s and Tessa’s point of view.

Plot

This is a romance. It is breakneck, with very little nuance, which was really nice. It throws you in from the get go—sexy right off the bat. Tessa has plans, she wants a baby before her clock runs out. She just needs a man that meets her criteria and to agree to her plan. In comes Michael who might give her more than she bargained for. In more ways then one.

Overall

This book is both painfully predictable and surprisingly gritty. The writing is fast pace and enjoyable. It gets really dramatic in the middle. I did notice that there were a lot of Michael chapters in the beginning but they are very inconsistent, with almost none happening in the middle. A lot of it is to cause a mystery aspect. I have to say without trying to ruin the story that the moment Tessa knew she was working on something that she had a vested interest in she should have recused herself. It was very unethical and anyone who works in business/accounting would have know that. It ruined the realistic feeling of the story but the romance was very steamy! It had a very corny ending.

Rating

4 stars

A charming romance with a fast pace! Sometimes when you plan for something life decides to throw exactly what you need, but will you have the strength to take it.

Where did I get a copy?

Author sent me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

Game Changers: Power – Control – Deception by Lorna Jackie Wilson

Summary

Carmen Fenton is a waitress at Greyton’s Grill. She is also a student studying to earn a college degree in marketing. Upon graduation, Carmen is seeking an internship at an executive firm where she plans to eventually climb the corporate ladder. Carmen is eager to complete college. She can barely wait to take advantage of the internship program NYU offers. Unaware of the competitive nature of the marketing business, she is ill-prepared for practices that are often high-handed and cut-throat. As she lands the job and begins to learn the business, she encounters an old flame, new friendships, and corporate sabotage. Meanwhile, she has become attracted to Ray Collins, a customer of Greyton’s Grill. She is reluctant to take the relationship seriously as she is career-focused at this point in her life. However, Ray Collins is not only handsome, but persistent. Ray is an architect and lover of the arts and he finds Carmen quite beautiful. Although Carmen finds a mutual attraction to Ray, she wonders if she can handle the demands of work, its related drama, and a new relationship. Carmen is determined to be successful as a marketing executive and mustn’t let anything get in the way of that. However, Ray Collins is determined to make her his own.

Characters

I didn’t like Carmen for the most part. I think the problem was she was trying to be too  many things so instead she felt like a blob character. Sometimes she is noble and sometimes she is petty. Other times she is friendly or determined while other times she is wishy washy and whiny. Hard to pin her down. I liked Nina okay (although she disappears for a huge chunk) but Caitlin didn’t feel like much of a friend. She kept throwing Carmen’s ex under her nose while she has clearly stated she liked Ray. What kind of friend keeps doing that? Also head hopping happened throughout the book. It kinda worked because of the writing style feeling more narrative than story.

Plot

I believe this is supposed to be a romance. I was very hesitant on the romantic aspects. In what world would a woman want to be called ‘young woman’ by her love interest? It totally threw me and BOTH men do it. Um…what? It made me wonder how old Ray is…like way older? However, Ray is mostly very much a gentleman and even though her ex is in the picture she mostly keeps him at a distance so the love triangle is luckily minimal.

It was interesting because the author clearly knew a lot about marketing and researched it thoroughly. I was impressed by the information that just seemed very natural. However, the college classes sounded more like high school and I’ve never heard of a restaurant who lets servers have weekends off. I know multiple people who worked at them (including myself) during college and you always had to work at least one weekend day but most did both because classes were during the week. Those little nonsensical pieces undermined the overall plot because they pulled me out of the story.

Overall

This book doesn’t read like a traditional book – it reminds me more of a play or movie script. Although I appreciated the brevity and consistent flow it was almost robotic at times. Very much all telling and zero showing. I also was a little unsure about many of the scenes and scenarios. The timeline also wasn’t clear. However, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next. There was some suspense that made me wonder what was going to happen next. I just wished it was more fleshed out. Also after all that build up there is a rush at the end.

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded up)

I was very split on this book (right down the middle). There were great aspects to it but just as many things that drug it down.

Where did I get it?

The author provided me a copy. This is a voluntary review

The Boy Next Door by Lolli Powell

Summary

When Laney Mitchell was fifteen, she babysat the cute four-year old who lived next door. His family moved away when he was five. Twenty-six years later, he’s all grown up, but he still wants to cuddle with his babysitter!

Laney’s daughter has other plans for him, while a hunky friend of a friend and Laney’s ex-husband both have other plans for her. By avoiding romance in the three years since her divorce, Laney has kept things simple. Now life has suddenly become very complicated!

Characters

This is a tricky one. For one I liked Laney…most of the time. She grew in the book and I liked her much more by the end of the book than I did at the middle. I don’t feel like I every really knew Bryce other than the details of his body. This novel really needed a second point of view because the entire time I second guessed Bryce’s interest in her. Which means I never invested in their relationship. It was only made worse by Laney’s crazy ex, Greg—who was over the top and the cause of most of the drama. Rex felt like a mirror in which Laney could reflect on if she should go to Bryce or follow societies standards of being with an older man versus a younger one. I liked how straight forward he was.

Plot

This book is supposed to be a romance but it feels more like an imaged fancy. As though we’ve slipped into a dream that turns into a sexual fantasy. Which is about when it stopped feeling less like a romance and more like an erotica. It was already very lust focused but I was surprised at the absolute lack of detail. I wouldn’t say the sensual scenes were very hot at all which was surprising considering how focused Laney is on Bryce’s body.  In the end it felt like a mellow erotica.

As an aside there was the side story of Laney’s business. She has this workout business she is trying to sell that she co-owns with her ex. The book built up to this big reveal but the twist isn’t much of a twist and it was a huge cliche.

Overall

The writing was very straight forward, almost technically written, but would go down rabbit holes. Almost like everything was an understatement. In a romance it really comes down to characters and I struggled with them in this book. Bryce’s persistence and Laney’s mostly sexual attraction to him really made their romance feel thin. It really didn’t take root until the end and by then it was a little late for me. That being said the ending was very sweet and it was nice to see a couple who defied societies standards. Despite the turbulence of the book I was glad to see Bryce and Laney give it a go. It was a dream ending for both of them.

Rating

2.5 Stars (rounded to 3 stars)

I was very split on this book – I liked parts of it but struggled to get through it during lulls. It also toed the line between sweet and erotica.

This is a voluntary review.

Beautiful Potential by J. Saman

Summary

I met Dr. Finn Banner on the worst day of my life.

It was supposed to be one of the best. The day you graduate and become a midwife shouldn’t end in heart wrenching tragedy. One year later, I ran into him again. Only this time, he saved my life. Turns out my gorgeous savior and I now work together in the same hospital. And he can be as sweet and charming as they come. When he’s not brooding, short-tempered and arrogant that is. Neither of us can fight our attraction. It’s strong enough to cause a cardiac arrest in the ER where he rules with an iron fist.

But he’s hiding something. A secret that runs deep.

I should stay away from him. Far away. There’s just one problem with that. How do you stay away from the man you think you’re falling for?

Characters

Gia is like the cutest person ever but also tough. I love how often she wipes out on seemingly nothing. But she is also tough and charming. Plus I respect her for sticking to her guns and not settling – big brownie points! Finn by contrast is the nicest person ever wrapped in bitter and assholery. Basically he is a sour patch gummy. Which makes for a hilariously contradictory character because he is a jerk, but Gia brings out the best in him, who he used to be before…life happened. Gia’s friends are a bunch of fun, and I love their dynamic. I’d love to see a book on Ophelia on a side note, I love that girl!

Plot

To be completely honest I didn’t like the start of this book. I knew it was a romance. However, I really struggled with Gia being attracted to anyone when she JUST found out her dad was dead. It was a rocky start that didn’t last, after I got over the first chapter I sprinted over a very short time to the end – because I JUST HAD TO KNOW!

This is more than a romance, it is a story of second changes for Finn. I won’t give anything away as all is revealed through a series of flashbacks that will rip your guts out. You will get sucked in and not be able to put it down until Gia and Finn get their happy ending! It is about potential of something amazing that was almost lost because Finn was stuck in the past.

Overall

Just wow! The writing was enjoyable and evenly balanced. The setting of the medical field was a huge bonus and helped give the book another dimension.  As a reader I was invested in them getting to their ending and I’d recommend for those who want an emotionally charged romance. To the point that I wanted to yell at Finn and tell him to get his butt in gear. To take a chance! When the tug of war between Finn and Gia is just starting to get old, they take steps forward, showing excellent pacing. In conclusion, it was awesome to read another of Saman’s books and see such growth!

As a side note, this cover does not do the book justice!

Rating

4.5 stars (rounded up)

A gut wrenching romance that you’ll get sucked into and have to know both Finn’s truth and how it is going to end! Fantastic romance read!

This is a voluntary review.

Cupid’s Chance by Tina Creek

Summary

Carter Lockhart has everything going for her; a job she excels at, a wonderful home, a dog she adores, and a cat she tolerates. Everything except for someone to share it with her. She’s given up on love after a painful break-up, but love hasn’t given up on her.

Carter Lockhart. Just another name on the list of a Cupid, Archer Valentine. His job is to find Carter true love. He promises to find her perfect match. A Cupid can’t always keep his promise, but he can sure as hell try.

Characters

Although Carter started off really dull and stubborn, she did grow on me by the end of the book. I was a little disappointed in her decision making a few times but overall she really grew with the book. Archer was like a child in many ways, but he does some growing of his own. Evony felt a little silly and over the top more than once, but she did create some good definition for Archer. The rest of the supporting character were a little flat at times, but grew with the book which was nice.

Plot

It was a romance with other things happened, circling around the central theme. Absolutely unique idea wrapped around a familiar plot. I appreciated that most of the cupid lore was brought up and hinted on. I did appreciate that Carter had friends (Troy) and there was more going on in her life than falling in love. It brought another dimension to the book that is sometimes missing in romances.

It didn’t take long for Archer and Carter to just become so cute! That being said I did struggled with a few of the scenes being necessary. I remember thinking ‘I wonder when this is going to come up later’ and then it never did. (Side note I thought the epilogue was unnecessary – I would have preferred an entire book dedicated to that last little quip.)

Overall

If I had picked this up off the shelf for fun reading, I probably would have quit about 15% in because it was VERY slow and uninteresting. The author took too long to get to the starting point. That being said after that point the book really picked up steam and got better and better. By the end I was a little sad to see it end and a little frustrated that more wasn’t revealed—showing how much the book sucked me in!

Fair warning that although there is chemistry between the main characters, the sex scenes aren’t detailed. I can usually take it or leave it on these, but with how much the author built up to it, not having it was both surprising and somewhat disappointing. Also I don’t normally like to mention this in the review, but this book needs a thorough editing job—badly.

Rating

4 stars

I like it! Between the shaky start, massive amount of editing errors, and questionable filler, I just couldn’t give this book a resounding 5 stars. It was a little silly, but absolutely adorable!

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review

Zendar #Giveaway – #Fantasy #romance #book TODAY ONLY

Update 12/10/2017: Winner was Brandee! Congrats!

If you love romantic fantasies, this is a must enter for you. You’ll get a kindle copy of Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand just in time for the holiday season! The giveaway is today only so act fast!

Zendar Giveaway

Summary:

Can enemies become something more? Find out in the steamy romantic tale on the sandy planet of Zendar. 

Blood is how it all began, and only by blood can it end. Chaos has reigned in Zendar for years since the rise of the seven Bloodlines. The Liege Aleron Corvinus ruthlessly seeks revenge for the mistreatment of his ancestors. His ambitions will only be sated when he claims the world under his family’s name; he will only stop when all of Zendar is his and the other six Bloodlines pay their weight in blood.

Azel Undel was born into this world of blood and sand. She is of a dying Bloodline, a feared one, but most coveted. Promised, in exchange for money, to a man she had never known; Azel travels across Zendar. Her ship is attacked and she alone survives, setting the wheels of fate in motion. She did not expect to become her enemy’s captive or that he would demand her submission to him.

Loyalties are tested, secrets are uncovered, and Azel will have to make a choice: remain loyal to her family and everything she ever stood for or be loyal to her own heart.

Also, for the next three months Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand will be on Kindle Unlimited! Check it out here: Amazon.

Happy Holidays!