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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Infinite Stars

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The seductive thrill of uncharted worlds, of distant galaxies… and the unknown threats that lurk in the vastness of the cosmos. From Foundation to Lensman, Star Wars to Guardians of the Galaxy, space opera continues to exert its magnetic pull on us all.
INFINITE STARS
This is the definitive collection of original short stories by many of today’s finest authors, writing brand new adventures set in their most famous series. Herein lie canonical tales of the Honorverse, the Lost Fleet, Dune, Vatta’s War, Ender Wiggin, the Legion of the Damned, the Imperium, and more.
Also included are past masterpieces by authors whose works defined the genre, including a Miles Vorkosigan adventure, a story from the author of the Dragonriders of Pern, and a rare tale co-authored by the screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back.
Nebula and Hugo Award winners, New York Times bestsellers, and Science Fiction Grand Masters—these authors take us to the farthest regions of space.

Every now and then, I enjoy anthologies. If I decide to have an anthology as a part of my book collection (instead of as a Kindle download), it needs to do three things.
1) Entertain me. EVERY story. When reading a print copy of an anthology, I like to be able to read one story and later–sometimes even months later–come back for another. Kindle anthologies are another story. I like to read those straight through. I know. It’s weird.

2) Be a good conversation starter. Because I’m a book person and we’re weird.
and…

3) Have enough lure to bring me back to it time and time again.

I feel like Infinite Stars was fantastic. I normally do not read the print copies of anthologies all at once (see #1), but since this was an ARC for a review, I did. And it took me a while because the book itself is HUGE. Super thick. I won’t get into how many pages because it may be different in the Kindle copies or final copies that went to print. But, it’s seriously humongous. And well worth whatever you may pay for it because the stories are amazingly entertaining.

If you enjoy the space opera genre, you will find at least half of the stories to be wonderful and the other half to be riveting. There is something in there for everyone, though. Not just space opera or science fiction fans. I feel like the anthology would be a really cool book club choice, too.

Obviously, I give Infinite Stars my thumbs up and recommendation to just about anyone.

*****

Also, I’d like to apologize for the review being a wee bit late. The official release was October 17th, yet here I am over a week later… I really only have one excuse. It’s a really large book and I got a little behind and overbooked lol. 

*****

NEXT ON MY REVIEW SCHEDULE:

BologhSomeone To Wed (A Westcott Novel) by Mary Bologh
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Pre-order available at Amazon.com. 

*****
A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . . 

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .

 

Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition

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The road to DOOMSDAY CLOCK begins here. BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON DELUXE EDITION is the prelude to this epic story, complete with a lenticular motion cover!
 
During the unforgettable events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, Batman found a mystery he can’t even begin to solve—a strange bloodstained smiley-face button embedded in the Batcave wall. All analysis suggests the button is not of this universe…so where did it come from? And who left it here? These are questions only the Flash can help answer.
 
When the button is stolen by Reverse-Flash, Batman and Flash follow his trail to a parallel world, a twisted alternate timeline that shouldn’t exist. Someone is sending the heroes on a bizarre trip through reality, showing them glimpses of fallen loved ones and forgotten friends—but who? Wally West warned the Flash of an unseen force influencing our world—distorting histories, pulling the strings, watching all—and the strange yellow button could be the key to finding it. 
 
Featuring the all-star creative team of writers Joshua Williamson and Tom King alongside top-tier artists Jason Fabok and Howard Porter, BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON collects BATMAN #21-22 and THE FLASH #21-22. The road to DOOMSDAY CLOCK begins here!

Release date: October 17, 2017

I don’t get to review comics nearly as much as I’d like. I tend to dislike crossovers, though. I didn’t dislike this. At least not all of it. For a little bit of background, I should inform you, my readers, that I grew up with a dad who ate, slept, and breathed Batman. Still does. The man has grandchildren who go to his house and want to see what new Batman toys he has. And, according to my grandma, my dad has been like that since he was little bitty because when he was a kid, Adam West was Batman and all one needed to become “the bat” was a bed sheet cape and the back of a sofa to leap from.

Fast forward a to the nineties. I was just a kid who wanted nothing to do with anything my parents thought was cool. That included Batman. And Kiss (but that’s a post for a whole new day). So, even though I fought the urge to really dislike Batman tooth and nail, going to see each movie and having to live in Gotham for my entire childhood really instilled in me a queasy roller coaster ride of emotions toward the superhero. I also grew to realize that I can relate more to the villains than the heroes, so maybe my dad’s lifelong love of all things Batman wasn’t a total bummer. There were important life lessons in there.

So, when I picked up a copy of a Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition, I had some uneasy feelings because I felt like if I hated the story, I was letting my dad’s hero down. Don’t judge me (giggle).  I do love Flash, though.

The biggest issue I have for myself as well as other readers is this: If you feel like you won’t have any qualms over The Watchmen being involved in the story, you’ll probably enjoy the premise, as it is meant to be a prelude to Doomsday Clock. The artwork is great and I wouldn’t assume to expect anything less. The writing itself was a bit predictable. I could see that ending coming a mile away and I imagine most other readers could too.

I can’t see any reason not to recommend Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition to other readers, particularly if you’re looking forward to Doomsday Clock (though you could actually skip this story if you wanted to). It’s not a particularly long read, but great for a rainy afternoon or to spread across a few class periods.

PRE-ORDER TODAY

Amazon.com

DC Comics.com

Barnes & Noble 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grigori: A Royal Dragon Romance (Brothers of Ash and Fire) by Lauren Smith

I’m not always interested in dragon tales, but this one caught my eye. I don’t think it was the cover, either, but rather in the description of the story. I wasn’t disappointed, either.

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The characters on the book are strong and secondary characters interesting enough, but I found myself a little bored through certain points. What kept me going was trying to figure out what happens in the end–obviously–but, I feel like some readers, who may not be as curious as I am, may put the book down half read. There is truly only one way to judge and that is to read it for yourself. I feel I should repeat that I am not normally attracted to dragon stories, so maybe that’s why I felt that way.

I should also add that since this is first in a series, I’ll probably read the second. After all, I did enjoy the story. For the sake of fairness, my blog readers will know that I do tend to lean toward darker romance novels. There is little more in the world of the supernatural that I enjoy more than an angry, brooding vampire, so for a book that wasn’t exactly my norm, I feel like this one was well worth a recommendation from me.

Perhaps readers would be better swayed by the very words that drew me to the story in the first place.

He’s one of the last of a powerful but vanishing bloodline …
Grigori Barinov is the eldest in an ancient line of dragon shifters and the guardian of his family’s lands and fortune. Sworn to protect their history and magic, he won’t rest until he neutralizes any threat to their existence. When he discovers an ancient manuscript that exposes his family and their dragon lineage has fallen into a mortal woman’s hands, he knows he must get the book back by any means necessary. If that means seducing a nosy American woman with an intoxicating scent, he is more than willing to carry her off to his palatial home deep in the heart of Russia.

She’s the one woman who could expose him to the world…
Madelyn Haynes has never fit in. As an adopted child she grew up in a loving home but never felt as though she belonged. Plagued by mysterious dreams she’s had of a silver scaled beast ever since she was a little girl, she is convinced dragons are real. While in Russia working on her PhD in mythology in order to escape the ridicule from fellow professors, she unexpectedly crosses paths with the sexy and dominating Grigori, and after just one night with the man whose eyes seem to burn, she starts to change inside. Isolated in the Russian wilderness Grigori calls home, Madelyn can’t help but fall under his sensual spell, yet something deep inside her calls out that she can’t trust him. She has to show the world dragons are real to salvage academic reputation, even if it means costing her the heart of the dragon she’s falling in love with.

~From Amazon.com.

Kindle $3.99

Nook $3.99

Dark Swan by Gena Showalter

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The Alien Huntress series is back with fan favorite AIR agent Dallas Gutierrez from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling paranormal romance author Gena Showalter, who doesn’t disappoint with this sizzling hot alpha hero.
Lilica Swan isn’t quite human or otherworlder; she is the best—and worst—of both.
She is willing to do whatever proves necessary to save her sister from the seductive and deadly Alien Investigation and Removal agent, Dallas Gutierrez, even bonding her lifeforce to his by effectively marrying him. But the bond will fade without consummation. Can Dallas resist his insatiable desire for the powerful beauty? Or will she lead to his ultimate downfall?

Dark Swan by Gena Showalter is the tale of a woman named Lilica who has over twenty parents. Yes, twenty plus. She also hatched/created from an egg, along with her two sisters, Trinity and Jade, but that’s the least most odd thing about this fantastic story. For the sake of spoilage, I won’t go into detail about the world created for us, but in case you haven’t read any blurbs about the story yet, it takes place far into the future, in a world where alien species live along with human beings. Technology is crazy advanced.

And showers are almost unheard of. No, really. Wait to read about that for yourself.

I find it wonderfully fitting that Lilica, once dubbed Lady Wicked, finds a romantic hero and powerful lover in a man who is tasked with capturing and killing her sister, Trinity, in order to zap out a futuristic super STD. The romantic scenes were sizzling and the tension between Dallas and Lilica was fierce. I also enjoyed the action scenes, though there were few.

What I always love about Gena Showalter is that her storytelling doesn’t slow down. I can keep the same pace throughout the entire book and not feel like I’ve entered a Twilight Zone of meandering prose (and, let’s face it, that happens sometimes when you’re a reader of books). The characters in the story all have incredible background stories that I wanted to explore almost as much as the main character’s story. Also, I can confidently say I wasn’t disappointed in learning the ins and outs of the futuristic, alien filled world within the story. No topic left the reader in the dark and everything alien or futuristic subject or object was described and explained adequately.

I gladly offer anyone who enjoys a good, spicy romance my recommendation for this book. If you’d like to order the Kindle copy for yourself, head over to Amazon.  It looks like there will be an Audible edition also, but I am not certain about print yet, but I would assume so.

Release: September 25, 2017