03 August 2017
FYI: Caitie Quinn is the pen name for Bria Quinlan. This cover is a little outdated -- Bria is moving to put everything under her own name now.
"Hailey Tate thought she was worth more than a straight flush.
When camera-shy author Hailey Tate's agent loses a bet and brokers a deal, it leaves Hailey in the last place she wants to be: backed into the corner of Publicity and Paparazzi. Now, thanks to her girl-next-door image and role as pretend girlfriend to a womanizing shortstop, she's getting the attention she always managed to avoid.
Connor Ryan is not only America's Sexiest Athlete, he's also the current Bad Boy of Baseball. But when he goes a base too far, management wants to bench him...permanently. One thing he never counted on? Falling for his sweet, fake girlfriend. He's the guy who can catch anything and now she's next on his list."
This was a fun read. I really liked Hailey and Connor and their spunky personalities and how even though they seemed like very disparate people, they were the same underneath. It was sweet watching them resist coming together, and yet learning that the other had unexpected depths. Very well written, Bria.
Gentle Reader Alert: There may have been a couple of mild swears. I honestly don't remember.
26 July 2017
"When Anna Eom isn’t reading fantasy novels, she’s obsessing over her favorite K-pop group, SUPER. Each boy in the group has a different superpower, but Sungwook stands out from the crowd with his super-speed and super-strength, not to mention his super-hotness.
The day that SUPER’s latest music video drops, Anna’s mom does the worst thing imaginable and cuts the wi-fi to make her clean house instead. All because some old family friends are visiting them from Korea. Not only are the almost-strangers cutting her time short with her favorite K-pop group, but she knows she’s going to be thrown together with a boy she only remembers as a bully. Caleb might be her age, but the last time she saw him ten years ago he stole her precious Disney princess necklace. What’s worse is Anna’s mom has threatened to clear her bookshelves if she doesn’t greet the old friends at the door with a fragile vase as a gift.
Anna complies, planning on getting back to her books as soon as she can, but when her parents open the door it’s not Caleb standing on the other side, but Sungwook from SUPER. Judging by the way he caught the vase she dropped with lighting speed, his super-powers might not be fiction."
I love Jennie Bennett's novellas. They're such fun, light reads. There aren't a lot of entries in the kpop romance genre, so I'm extra glad to have these!
Anna and Caleb are pretty well-developed characters, given the limited space Ms. Bennett is working with. There's great push-and-pull between them and I love that flustered Anna finally finds her feet. Rounding out the story is an obnoxious childhood friend, a dance-off with sasaengs, and a satisfying amount of character growth. Definitely worth a read!
"Deep within the palace of the Mede emperor, in an alcove off the main room of his master’s apartments,. Kamet minds his master’s business and his own. Carefully keeping the accounts, and his own counsel, Kamet has accumulated a few possessions, a little money stored in the household’s cashbox, and a significant amount of personal power. As a slave, his fate is tied to his master’s. If Nahuseresh’s fortunes improve, so will Kamet’s, and Nahuseresh has been working diligently to promote his fortunes since the debacle in Attolia.
A soldier in the shadows offers escape, but Kamet won’t sacrifice his ambition for a meager and unreliable freedom; not until a whispered warning of poison and murder destroys all of his carefully laid plans. When Kamet flees for his life, he leaves behind everything—his past, his identity, his meticulously crafted defenses—and finds himself woefully unprepared for the journey that lies ahead.
Pursued across rivers, wastelands, salt plains, snowcapped mountains, and storm-tossed seas, Kamet is dead set on regaining control of his future and protecting himself at any cost. Friendships—new and long-forgotten—beckon, lethal enemies circle, secrets accumulate, and the fragile hopes of the little kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis hang in the balance."
OH MY GOODNESS. I've got to widen my book news circles, because I had NO IDEA this book was coming out! I've been a huge fan of the Attolia series since I first picked up The Thief back in 2010. The publisher will try to convince you that these books can be read out of order.
Enjoy the series in the order it was intended to be read:
The Queen of Attolia
The King of Attolia
Conspiracy of Kings
Thick As Thieves
And if you don't absolutely delight in Eugenides by the end of the third book, I will seriously have to question our friendship. Or accept that people have different tastes, but that's not strong enough for me. Eugenides is one of the most smartly-written, deviously intelligent characters I've ever read. My favorite thing about him is his relationship to the divine. He's such a fantastic character.
Thick As Thieves is not about Eugenides. I expected to be disappointed by this, but I was not, as the story featured some of my favorite side characters. Kamet is Nasuresh's snarky but submissive servant from Queen of Attolia, and I was sad not to see more of him in the following books. I am SO GLAD he got a story of his own, and it was completely worth it. The friendship he develops with his Attolian ... compatriot, handily highlighted by the almost Grecian stories they tell each other to pass the time as they travel, is very worthy of the story it's built upon. I love reading about a good male friendship, especially as its tried and tested and found to be stronger than the circumstances surrounding it. See also: The friendship between Michael and Fisk in Hilari Bell's Knight and Rogue series or Goblin and Reaper's friendship in the Korean drama Goblin: The Great and Lonely God.
But I should not bring kdramas into this, because they have a tendency to take over EVERYTHING, just as they have taken over my life.
Read this book. You won't be disappointed.
06 July 2017
"Chloe’s got it all: a happy marriage to Hollywood A-lister, Jason Vanderholt, her first child on the way, and the chance to be the maid-of-honor in her best friend, Lori’s, upcoming wedding. The stresses of the past year are behind her… almost.
Chris Winters, Chloe’s half-brother, still isn’t in jail, even though he’s the main suspect in a double homicide. The police don’t have enough hard evidence to charge him with the crime, but Chloe is certain it was him. After all, he tried to kill her when she was a child.
When Chris begins to stalk Lori, Chloe is furious and decides it is past time he was locked up for good. She has the best security team money can buy, yet she knows they’re missing something, and mistakes in this business can be deadly. The deeper she digs, though, the less the facts add up.
Chloe’s got mere weeks to figure out how to keep her best friend safe, save the wedding from disaster, and get Chris back in jail where he belongs. That is, if she can gather enough evidence before he strikes again."
My goodness, I love the cover to this book. It perfectly captures the personalities of calm and stoic Chloe and bubbly Lori. The story itself is an excellent entry into the Someone Else's Fairytale series, providing layers to the mystery surrounding Chris and wrapping it up fairly well, with a villain who was unexpected, but absolutely made sense in the context of the story. And that villain was downright freaky.
As with the last couple of books, most especially My Wicked Half-Sister, the story relies heavily on dialogue to move forward. Personally, I don't find this appealing--I want action!--but it doesn't take away from the plot.
I really enjoyed Lori's musings on "happily ever after" versus "whatever after"--basically, the difference between movie endings and real life. In real life, the happy couple has to recommit to choosing to love each other all the time. Movies are one-and-done. But I digress. The book made me hungry for a good chili and wrapped up well. I really enjoyed it.
Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.
23 June 2017
"When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability to see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.
Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity put an end to the disturbances. But soon Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms.
There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?"
This story gripped me from the very beginning. I really loved that Verity wasn't some mystic or new age believer, but a woman with a normal life who got sucked into events beyond her ken. The supernatural elements weren't cartoon-ish, either, which made the story even better. Verity's connection to Frankie, the 1920s-era gangster, was fun and charming.
The romance wasn't neglected, either, and it's of the slow-burning kind, which makes me happy beyond words. This is a great coming-together story for Verity and Ellis and I'm very intrigued to see what happens next. I was also surprised by the villain, but said villain wasn't unrealistic.
The whole book was sweet and well-written. I really enjoyed it.
Gentle Reader Alert: There were a few swears, including one f-bomb.
"In an effort to ward off the unwanted advances of the womanizing football coach, Nikki Fallon comes up with the perfect plan. She pretends she's already married. There's only one problem. When she meets the honorable campus cop, she wishes she hadn't started the lie. How can she get rid of an imaginary husband?"
I love it when I take a chance on a book and it pays off! This one had a lot of laugh out loud moments. It was fun and absolutely delightful. Nikki balanced well between Coach Carlin and Officer Ross and it was sweet to watch her try to figure out how to relate to the two of them. Her best friend, Janna, was a great friend and well written. These characters were very REAL and the plot was very well done. It was an enjoyable read--great for curling up with on a day when you don't want to go anywhere else.
Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.
(Click the cover to be taken to the synopses on Goodreads.) I was very fortunate to win these three novellas in a Facebook contest. Having been recently converted to kpop myself, it's interesting to see what other fans do with their obsession.
I read the books with two filters in place--I ignored the insta-love and the lack of depth--because these are novellas and there just isn't room to develop more here. With those in place, I thoroughly enjoyed them all! They are fun, fluffy beach reads, with a good plot hook to keep me drawn in and characters that felt realistic. Undercover Fan is definitely the strongest of the three and my favorite, but they are all a good way to pass the time and indulge in a little kpop wish fulfillment.
Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.