2014 – Book #38

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The thirty-eighth book I read in 2014 was Big Sky Secrets by Linda Lael Miller. This is the sixth and final book in the Parable, Montana series by this author (I have read the other 5 books in the series though none of them I read in 2014 so no others in the series are discussed on this blog). I finished this book on 5/12/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Ria Manning and Landry Sutton. Landry is brother to Zane Sutton who was featured in the 5th book in the Parable series. All the characters of the different books are connected which I found interesting. Got confusing by the time I got to this last book in the series though, trying to keep all the different characters from the previous books straight.

I thought this was a very cute love story. It was an easy read and I was interested throughout the book. Ria was an utterly loveable heroine and I found myself rooting for her the whole time. Landry was a tough guy with a heart of gold. The whole story was just very sweet. The only part I had trouble with was that they got married like a week after they started dating. That just seemed a little unrealistic to me. Other than that though, this was a feel-good love story with the best kind of ending, a happy one.

Link to author website: http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Big-Secrets-Linda-Lael-Miller/dp/0373778317/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399947251&sr=8-1&keywords=big+sky+secrets

2014 – Book #37

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The thirty-seventh book I read in 2014 was The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston. I finished this book on 5/9/14 and it was the first book I’ve read by this author. I rated this book 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This is the story of a necromancer witch, Lady Lilith, set in London in the early 1900’s. She falls in love with a young artist, Bram. Together they are faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles that get in the way of their love.

This was a hard read for me. There was a lot of very lengthy descriptions that weren’t necessary to set scene. Also the story randomly jumped forward years at a time twice towards the end of the book. And the narration was constantly jumping from Lilith’s point of view in the 1st person and Bram and various other points of view in the 3rd person. Between all of this the story was honestly a little hard to follow. The plot line itself was interesting and could’ve resulted in a much better story I think. Of course there were some parts of the story that I didn’t like. Lilith is described as having such a strength of will and character and she twice defied the creed of the Lazarus Coven. I just found that surprising and couldn’t reconcile these facts.

I considered giving up halfway through this book. At that point I knew there was very little possibility that I would end up loving this book. I decided to finish it to see what happened and how it ended. I have to say that I am glad I finished it because the 2nd half of the book was slightly better than the first. However, the first half of the book was not what I would call fantastic so it would’ve been hard not to have it improve. I just had so much trouble being drawn into the story. I couldn’t get involved in the characters or what drove them. And there are so many loose ends and unresolved issues. Violet is lost to the Darkness in the beginning of the book and is never recovered. Lilith’s dad isn’t heard from at all in the second half of the book. I feel like the soup kitchen and the nuns were important to the story but they were mentioned so little that I had trouble understanding. I feel like there could’ve been more development of the relationship between Lilith and the nuns through conversations and what not. And pieces of the story were so dark. And (**SPOILER ALERT**) at the end Lilith comes back to life and then her and Bram live happily ever after? Even though she’s living in a dead body now and will have to drink the Elixir regularly for the rest of her life.

Overall I was just disappointed with this book. It was definitely not one of my favorites. I read on Amazon that other people were disappointed with this book and said her other two books were much better. I might try one of her other books in the future to see for myself but I’m not sure I can risk it just yet.

Link to author website: http://www.paulabrackston.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Witch-Paula-Brackston-ebook/dp/B00FCR3QUC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399690241&sr=8-1&keywords=midnight+witch

2014 – Book #36

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The thirty-sixth book I read in 2014 was Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick (which is a pen name of Jayne Ann Krentz). I finished this book on 5/6/14. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Amity Doncaster and Benedict Stanbridge. They met on a ship bound for New York when Amity found Benedict shot and bleeding badly in an alleyway. She manages to get him back to the cruise ship, and thankfully she has some medical training from her doctor so she is able to stitch up Benedict and care for him through his fever and subsequent recovery. After passing through New York though, Amity is heading back home to London and Benedict is heading to California before then heading home to London later on. Benedict promises to call on her when he returns to London.

Some time later, Benedict finally shows up in London and pays a call to Amity. Unbeknownst to him though Amity was recently attacked by the killer they call the Bridegroom due to her friendship with Benedict. The story that follows is really Amity and Benedict, along with Amity’s sister Penny, assist Scotland Yard’s Inspector John Logan in hunting down this killer. One of the interesting things about this book is the heroine’s weapon of choice, something called a tessen, its a Japanese iron war fan. The heroine uses this as a weapon against the Bridegroom in order to escape his clutches. If you’d like to read more about tessens, here is an article about them on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_war_fan.

Overall I thought this was a very good story. It was interesting to go along on the journey to search for the killer. Some of the conversations felt a bit awkward though. But the plot was fairly well-paced and I liked the characters. This wasn’t my favorite book by this author but it was enjoyable.

Link to author website: http://www.krentz-quick.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Otherwise-Engaged-Ladies-Lantern-Street-ebook/dp/B00FX7R5QM/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399486343&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=otherwis+engaged

2014 – Book # 35

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The thirty-fifth book I read in 2014 was A Dash of Scandal by Amelia Grey. I finished this book on 5/4/14. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This was the second book I read by this author. This book is about Miss Millicent Blair and Chandler, Earl of Dunraven. Millicent has been called to London to assist her aunt who recently took a very serious fall. What she doesn’t know is that her aunt doesn’t need help getting back on her feet, she needs help collecting gossip from each evening’s parties for the Lord Truefitt gossip column.

At first Millicent is horrified by what her aunt needs help with, but after some needling her aunt finally convinces her to help. As Millicent makes the rounds at all the ton’s best soirees, she meets Lord Dunraven, one of the ton’s Terrible Three. Dunraven has made a name for himself as a terrible rogue, and since Millicent’s own mother was run out of London after her own scandal twenty years ago, Millicent knows she must not fall under Dunraven’s spell. Try as she might though, she can’t seem to resist Dunraven’s charm. And the more Dunraven gets to know Millicent, the more he can’t seem to stop thinking about her. No one has ever gotten under his skin before, and he finds himself absolutely smitten.

During all of this, Dunraven is searching for the “Mad Ton Thief,” as is London’s police force. He enlists Millicent’s help to investigate on their own. Together they try to piece together the clues to figure out who the thief is and all the while become more and more infatuated with each other. Overall this was a cute story with a lovely heroine. A couple points were slow/dry but overall was a good plot.

Link to author website: http://www.ameliagrey.com/main.html

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dash-Scandal-Amelia-Grey-ebook/dp/B005J4OZRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399247638&sr=8-1&keywords=a+dash+of+scandal

2014 – Book #34

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The thirty-fourth book I read in 2014 was Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell. I finished this book on 5/1/14. This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book was about Kate Donnelly and Holden Cameron. Kate Donnelly had a tragic experience as a teen and has been running from her family and her old life ever since then. The last thing she wants is for her brother to drag her back home to St.Vincent’s to clean up his mess. Kate’s brother Larry signed a dive contract (Kate’s family owns a salvage diving business) that is going to end up putting the family business into bankruptcy. Kate can’t leave her family to fail though, so she comes to the rescue and flies down to St. Vincent’s to meet with the consultant coming in from AO, the company that owns the dive contract.

And that consultant is none other than Holden Cameron, a former British military diver who is consulting for AO. Holden can’t figure out why Kate fascinates him so much but the more he gets to know her the more he seems to like her. Holden was sent from AO to assess whether or not the diving project should be shut down. There hasn’t been quite enough results from this project to satisfy AO but Larry is sure there’s more down there. Holden thinks there’s a possibility that someone on the dive is stealing and keeping the treasures for themselves. And the deeper he gets into his investigation, the more Kate starts to suspect that there may be something going on as well.

But what neither of them realize is that they are getting elbow deep in issues that are turning deadly. Kate tries to protect her family and Holden tries to protect her. One of the things I liked about this book was the growth of the heroine during the story, she overcomes her fears of the water as her relationship with Holden matures. Overall this was a great story and had an interesting plot. A couple parts were a little dry/slow but the love story was sweet and heart-warming and the danger was palpable at points. It was also interesting to learn about diving through the story.

Link to author website: http://www.elizabethlowell.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Diver-Novel-Elizabeth-Lowell-ebook/dp/B00ENGU6MO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399243847&sr=8-1&keywords=night+diver

Book Recommendation Sites

Many times we’ll find that one book that just completely knocks our socks off. Its thrilling, heart-wrenching and extremely moving and you just don’t want it to end. The tears are falling by the time we get to the end because it was just so beautiful but also because we just don’t want it to end! I know I’ve felt this a bunch of times before. Even if you don’t know exactly what I mean, I’m sure that you readers out there have come across books that you love and just can’t put down. So what do you do when it’s over?

One of the options you have is to go to a book recommendation website. There are many websites out there that you can use to find other books like the one that you are in love with but just finished. Also if there is a book you really love, I would highly recommend reading more by that same author. Many authors have certain writing styles even if the plot isn’t exactly the same you may find that you really enjoy other books by the same author. I’ve done this with a few authors, including Linda Howard and many many others. Once you run out of books on an author’s list though, book recommendation sites can be extremely helpful in finding books by other authors that you might also enjoy.

One of the more popular book recommendation sites is What Should I Read Next (http://whatshouldireadnext.com/). With this site you can put in either a title or author and the site will produce results similar to your input. For example, I put in one of my all-time favorite books, Now You See Her by Linda Howard, and got the below results: http://whatshouldireadnext.com/isbn/0743482891. Some of the authors I noted that came up as results were Julie Garwood and Nora Roberts, and I know both these authors also write romantic suspense so the results make sense to me and provide me with new options of books I might enjoy.

Another option is you could browse different company’s recommendations. Barnes & Noble and Amazon are two larger companies that make listings of recommendations. One such list I mentioned in an earlier blog was Amazon’s 100 books to read in a lifetime (http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=bhp_brws_100bks?ie=UTF8&node=8192263011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&pf_rd_r=1A3DWGXAGXQQ9XAMRSV5&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1779646742&pf_rd_i=283155). Also with Amazon there are listings by genre. On Barnes & Noble’s website they have many different listings of recommendations including B&N’s top 100 and B&N’s Biggest Books (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/Books-We-Recommend/379003220/).

Yet another interesting search engine to find a new book to read is WhichBook (http://www.openingthebook.com/whichbook/). I found this one interesting because you can set different parameters to help you find your next read, like whether you want a happy or sad book, a long or short book, and an expected or unpredictable book, among other options.

So as you can see there are many different ways to find your next book. Does anyone have any sites that they love using? I’d love to hear about some new sites, I’m always looking for new authors and new books to read!

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