Someone To Wed (A Westcott Novel) by Mary Balogh

5136KRDuxTLThis Regency romance released on November 7, 2017. I received an ARC copy and have been mulling over the review for two weeks. I love Mary Balogh. 

Also, I loved this book. Full recommendation, five stars, all that jazz. When I write reviews, I sometimes comment on writing style, but I won’t for authors whose books I pick up without even reading the back cover blurb because it’s a non-issue. No complaints, only the highest of praise for Mary Balogh because she sets the romance bar higher than most.

I found that I could relate to the characters on a personal level, which is always such a hard thing to find in books. The romance was front and center, love scenes tasteful and unpredictable, and the story believable–even if it takes place before my grandparents were even born. Regency is actually not my favorite time period, but in this book it really doesn’t matter.

I don’t even know what else to say about the story. It’s superb. If I had a microphone, I’d give it to Mary Balogh so she could drop it.

To my blog readers, please note that I will always pick up titles by this author when they come into my view. I will always review them here when I have the opportunity, whether I’m given an ARC (as was the case with this particular title) or I run to the store to buy a copy myself. If you have a favorite title by this author, please do share!

If you’d like to read your own copy, head over to Amazon before Christmas shipping times get ridiculous! 😀 Of course, with a Kindle copy I suppose you can get around that.

Kindle $7.99 
Paperback $10.42

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Blonde and Fabulous by Anna Snow

I honest to goodness thought this review was being written five days late. I had Blonde and Fabulous on my review schedule as being released on November 7th (along with a few other titles released that day), so I’m pleasantly surprised that I am on time. Early, even.

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Feather boas, strippers, and murder? Oh, my!
After a busy few months, Private Investigator Barb Jackson is dreaming of a relaxing vacation with her hot man at her side…but her hopes of a little R&R are abruptly put on hold when an acquaintance from a past case, Cindy, comes to her in desperate need of help. Cindy is a dancer at the Double Trouble Gentlemen’s Club, a somewhat upscale club that caters to somewhat less-than-law-abiding men. Recently two of Cindy’s fellow dancers have been murdered. The police don’t have a clue who killed the girls or why—and as far as Barb can tell, don’t even really care. But with Cindy afraid the killer may strike again, Barb steps in to pick up where the police have left off. Even if her homicide detective boyfriend wishes she’d leave the murder investigations to him and stick to planning their getaway for two. Between an ex-boyfriend with a criminal past, a bouncer with a secret, and enough catty dancers to fill a scantily-clad lineup, Barb has suspects galore. But which one is targeting the ladies of Double Trouble…and just may do so again!
Platform heels, outrageous costumes, and body glitter abound when Barb takes on the craziest case of her career!

This title is not a lone book. It is the Barb Jackson Mysteries Book 3, as a matter of fact. The first titles being Bubblegum Blonde and Illegally Blonde, in that order and all featuring Snow’s blonde (obviously) PI, Barb Jackson as the main focus. Jackson, although not a thing like me at all, in any way, is a character I found to be relatable enough and, in this book, the plot was entertaining.

Without giving too much away to other readers, I will say that the story is funny and even though the premise is serious, you wouldn’t really know that by the way it is bundled up and handed to the reader because when there is a relatively dire situation (strippers being murdered, for example), hilarity almost always immediately ensues. In many ways, this is a good thing–after all, I daresay loyal readers of the Barb Jackson Mysteries will appreciate this–but, also, for those looking for something a bit more realistic, I would suggest looking elsewhere. After all, this is not a drama, even if the title includes the word mysteries.

When giving my own personal recommendation for this book (and, I will), I am going to make the note now that I should warn readers that it’s a bit of a funny bone tickler, but should be a great read to have on hand when you want a cup of coffee and a blanket and to just shut the rest of the world out. It is not, however, something I would suggest reading in public because I found myself giggling through much of the story.

On a more personal note, I will read more from this author in the future, but will likely stay away from the funny mysteries for a little while because it just isn’t my typical thing–that is not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I truly did.

Remember, this book is available for pre-order. If you choose to order from Amazon.com, it’s only .99 right now. I have no idea if that will change later or if that price is fairly locked in. So much for thorough reporting today, right?

Quakery: A Brief History Of the Worst Ways To Cure Everything by Lydia Kang/Nate Pedersen

516+JwxQkSL._SX377_BO1,204,203,200_Genre: Non-fiction/historical
Release Date: October 17, 2017

What won’t we try in our quest for perfect health, beauty, and the fountain of youth?

Well, just imagine a time when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When liquefied gold was touted as immortality in a glass. And when strychnine—yes, that strychnine, the one used in rat poison—was dosed like Viagra.

Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are dozens of outlandish, morbidly hilarious “treatments”—conceived by doctors and scientists, by spiritualists and snake oil salesmen (yes, they literally tried to sell snake oil)—that were predicated on a range of cluelessness, trial and error, and straight-up scams. With vintage illustrations, photographs, and advertisements throughout, Quackery seamlessly combines macabre humor with science and storytelling to reveal an important and disturbing side of the ever-evolving field of medicine.

I’m going to start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this book. I laughed and cringed all the way through. It looks as though Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen have an interest in history that closely matches mine, but with a sense of humor, too. Obviously, a sense of humor is much needed when writing a book about all of the ways humans have tried to cure what ails them and most of the ways in which they have failed miserably. Who would have thought bloodletting was a bad idea?

Quackery is available in Kindle ($9.99) and Hardback ($15.60) on Amazon and Hardback ($16.29) from Barnes & Noble. As of now, it is only a pre-order, so by the time we come to the actual release date that may change. Typically I don’t add this information so soon in a review, but I feel like, in this case, there may be a lot of readers interested in buying this as a gift for someone else, including me, actually. Not only is the book great to just read it yourself for entertainment value, but it could also be used as a reference, coffee table book, or (in my opinion) great to use as a book club read because it’s a good conversation holder.

The pages inside the book are fantastically designed. There are a lot of pictures with great captions and, for a book of this sort, they are absolutely a wonderful pairing with the text. Though much of the subject matter is hilariously horrifying (for lack of a better description), it’s an odd comfort to have a photo of some of the cures because, with them, a reader can try and imagine being ill, having someone with a knife come and cut you open for absolutely no good reason. It’s frighteningly mad.

The writing, aside from the pictures and subject matter, is frank and to the point. Those of you who are not new to my reviews will realize that I am not a fan of writing that meanders and “lollygags” around. If I have to put a star rating to this book–and for the sake of Amazon and Goodreads, I’m sure I’ll have to–I give Quackery a four.

 

Quarry’s Climax by Max Allan Collins

I know I’ve reviewed Max Allan Collins in here before, but this book is different than the last in that I could not make myself become interested in the stories or the characters. Frankly, I didn’t really relate to the main character.

I did enjoy the plot and, as always, Collins’s writing style. Hard Case Crime is usually either a thumbs way up or a thumbs down for me, no between, no gray areas. One good thing I can say is that I didn’t just throw the book down because I disliked the characters. It wasn’t a particularly painful read. There was just absolutely no connection for me and sometimes, when you’re a reader, that happens. It’s like when you meet somebody and you’re just not into them (similar concept, at least).

HOWEVER, I can still give this book a recommendation to certain readers of hard case crime and the like. A certain type of readership (and it’s a broad readership, too) will absolutely love it.

If you’d like to buy your own copy, Quarry’s Climax was released on October 10, 2017 and is available all over the place, including Amazon.com.

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There’s Nothing More Dangerous Than a Loaded Magazine
Memphis, 1975. “Raunchy” doesn’t begin to describe Max Climer’s magazine, Climax, or his all-hours strip club, or his planned video empire. And evangelists, feminists, and local watchdog groups all want him out of business. But someone wants more than that, and has hired a killer to end Max’s career permanently. Only another hit man – the ruthless professional known as Quarry, star of the acclaimed series on Cinemax – can keep Climer from becoming a casualty in the Sexual Revolution.

Riverdale, Batman, and Other Things I’m Into Right Now

Right now, I’m into a lot of things that I wasn’t into before–times, they are a changin’ and me with them. But, I promise all of the recent changes I’ve made in my life are positive, or at least aren’t hurting anyone (myself included). As a matter of fact, I’m sure you’ve already seen the post about my diet, right? Well, there are other changes, too. Some big, some small, but all of them relevant to the speed at which life whirls by.

BatmanThe first change I’ll mention is that I’ve expanded my repertoire. Review repertoire, anyway. Now, I am reading a bigger balance in material. I did, after all, start out as a reader with comics. Coming sooner than you think (the 17th of this month) will be my review for Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition. It’s available for pre-order right now, but Amazon is giving a teensy weensy sneak peak inside (as they do all books) if you’re antsy. I’ve already been diving in there and I can tell you this–it doesn’t disappoint and my review is going to post on the release date. But, not only have I been reading and reviewing more comics, returning to a first love, I’ve been reviewing more romances, too. I have missed the genre. I never left it, but sometimes I drift and, this time, I drifted into realism in every sort. That’s a story for another day, but stay tuned for those reviews, eh? I promise I’ll try my best to give you all the skinny on the newest releases in books other than hard case and sci-fi (although, I’ll have those, too).

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Don’t taunt me. I’ll cut you.

And, speaking of reviews–have you people been checking out Riverdale on CW (Netflix and Hulu also)? Because, geez, it’s like crack. I can’t stop watching! I was a bit under the weather one day and watched every stinkin’ episode of the first season and now I need the second season to just hurry up. I understand that I have to wait for the 11th for the season premier, but I’ve already got the DVR set to record it in case we have a natural disaster or some other satellite connection destroying catastrophe. It’s not exactly like the comics, though some elements are there, but it’s great TV, y’all. The CW finally got a hit, as far as I’m concerned because I don’t usually like teenager aimed television shows. I’m serious, people–don’t go messing around with my new favorite show. I’ll cut somebody.

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And, Cole Sprouse? The Cole Sprouse who is now 25 (LEGAL) years old and stars as Jughead Jones? **Whispers** Call me. 

I’m serious, folks. Riverdale is where it’s at. Also featured on the show are Josie and the Pussycats. Remember those ladies? They are fantastic. Each character is given more depth than any of the cartoons could have imagined and season 1 of Riverdale had me really pulling for Val and Archie to be more of a thing, but that didn’t happen, so…bummer, right? Right. 
PerryulrichFun fact: Both Luke Perry (90210) and Skeet Ulrich (Scream) were Teeny Bopper magazine cover frequenters in my day. All the girls loved them. And, both of them have roles in Riverdale. . . As parents! Because, if you didn’t feel old enough, you might need to know this. You’re welcome!

Moving right along.

I’ve recently dived into a task I have only, until now, kept in my head. I’m creating my own planner. I’m designing the pages on my laptop, printing them off, and collecting them in a three ring binder so that I can keep track of myself. Sounds a little too housewifey, but I really do need to keep a planner because I’m always forgetting things and losing information, like appointments. The planner I have now wasn’t anything fancy. I bought it at a dollar store. But, it has a monthly calendar and also pages that are week by week and allow you to go in depth with planning ahead or note keeping. I was thinking if I created my own planner, I could tailor it to my needs. I want to keep the function of a monthly calendar, but I would also like weekly pages that have a space already there to keep track of weight changes, the weather, a separate page for monthly book reviews, and maybe a place to write out my menu plans. Plus, I’m crafty and I have some cool images to put to good use. I’ll let you all know how this goes and maybe I’ll even share the pages I create with my blog readers.

If that’s something my readers would be interested in, just let me know in the comments. I’d be happy to share my planner pages with you (for FREE because people seriously charge for that crap….*eye roll*).

So, with fall activities my kids are doing at school and at home, crazy good fall TV, and some really great book reviews coming up, it looks as though I’m set for a cozy start to the cold weather season. If there are shows coming up or books you want to request I review, let me know. I’m open to a lot of different genres now and, frankly, I’m bored.

Until my next update post!
XOXO, Rhiannon M.

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Review and release coming October 10, 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scot Beds His Wife (Victorian Rebels) by Kerrigan Byrne

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The Scot Beds His Wife is the next lush, captivating Victorian romance in the Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne.

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster.
Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him…more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity…
A marriage most convenient
Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own…

It’s about stinkin’ time I come across a historical romance novel that exemplifies all of the qualities in a good novel I crave. I can’t express in words how I felt when I began reading and realized that I was getting the raw, gritty Victorian scoundrel hero I wanted so much and the leading lady with a good, working brain in her head. We (readers) are pretty well done with swooning idiots in a corset who can’t make up their minds or open their mouths enough to say more than an oooh or an aaah. Consider that request granted.

Kerrigan Byrne’s writing is fantastic. I love her descriptions and the way she delivers her characters’ mannerisms to the reader with ease. The story leaves absolutely nothing to be further desired and the delivery of plot is fantastic. I have absolutely nothing to complain or nit-pic over.

I can’t imagine not reading the rest of the books listed on the author’s website as belonging to the Victorian Rebels collection.  Now that I know they exist, I’m going to read them next.

Purchase Links:

To purchase this novel from Amazon.com.

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

 

Queens Of the Conquest by Alison Weir

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The lives of England’s medieval queens were packed with incident—love, intrigue, betrayal, adultery, and warfare—but their stories have been largely obscured by centuries of myth and omission. Now esteemed biographer Alison Weir provides a fresh perspective and restores these women to their rightful place in history.
Spanning the years from the Norman conquest in 1066 to the dawn of a new era in 1154, when Henry II succeeded to the throne and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first Plantagenet queen, was crowned, this epic book brings to vivid life five women, including: Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, the first Norman king; Matilda of Scotland, revered as “the common mother of all England”; and Empress Maud, England’s first female ruler, whose son King Henry II would go on to found the Plantagenet dynasty. More than those who came before or after them, these Norman consorts were recognized as equal sharers in sovereignty. Without the support of their wives, the Norman kings could not have ruled their disparate dominions as effectively.
Drawing from the most reliable contemporary sources, Weir skillfully strips away centuries of romantic lore to share a balanced and authentic take on the importance of these female monarchs. What emerges is a seamless royal saga, an all-encompassing portrait of English medieval queenship, and a sweeping panorama of British history.  (*Blurb from Amazon.com*)

Non-fiction/Historical 

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Includes: Maps, family trees, illustrations, glossary, British terms, two appendixes, bibliography, notes, and references. 

Queens Of the Conquest focuses on the consorts of the Norman kings of England. These ladies lived lives none of us, no matter how well read or traveled, could ever begin to imagine. Spectacular language with feeling, concern, and incredible knowledge tell the tales of the backbone of a Norman society. Alison Weir’s gift of historical realness to her readers is incredible. Bravo, Miss Weir.

As I would imagine people might like to read this particular volume for research, I feel I should say that the book’s contents are arranged in such a way that a pupil will feel at ease flipping through the pages (digital or paper, applies to both) knowing that whatever bit of information they’re looking for will be right there. Every bit of every Queen’s life is explained and painted in such a way that a reader–scholarly or leisurely–will understand on a level deeper than common knowledge usually allows.

For those reading for leisure, which I assume is most of us, this is just book one and that means there are more coming in the Medieval Queens series. If the rest of the series is as meticulously involved as this one, I’m in. It is unfortunate that the Norman queens haven’t been given the same amount of attention (in my opinion) as the queens of other eras because they are, simply put, incredible.

The only gripe I really have is that I cannot seem to find any information regarding subsequent books in this series, other than that there is some. I will most certainly be following up, however, and I will let my own readers know about any editions to come.

Pre-order Queens Of the Conquest by Alison Weir on Amazon.com if you are interested.  

You can also visit Alison Weir’s website if you follow this link through cyberspace!