Tag Archives: ARC

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

18 May

This review is for our very own, awesome, Queen Librarian of the Universe, SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge.

The theme for this month is Something Different, and boy, oh boy, this is different.

How different? Well, it’s somewhere between interior design and self-help, neither of which I ever read.

(Spoiler: if you enjoy either of these types of books, or the show, you’ll probably want to skip this review)

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

A dude at work often gets print ARCs directly from publishers, and every so often he goes around the office, handing them over to people according to what he knows of their interests. This is…a very hit and miss way of giving books away.

Because I rescued two kittens. back in the fall of 2015, he just knew I would love this book, and so he handed it to me, with an admonition to let him know my thoughts.

Seventeen months later…::crickets::

But where are my manners? Here, allow me to introduce you to our characters, via the blurb:
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The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

9 May

thegirlwhoknewtoomuch

I received an ARC for this novel sometime in late 2016, and it was one of only two new books I read in the months following my mother’s death.

Although I have not yet written any reviews for them, I own and love all of Ms Quick’s early historical novels (Surrender, Mystique, Ravished, etc). In later years, I had given up on her books, after growing a bit fatigued by some writing tics, and frankly tired of the Arcane Society novels.¹

However, the cover caught my eye, and the blurb makes it clear this novel is not part of a series. Best of all, it’s set in California in the 1930s!

Warning: there are a couple of murders, though not much gore; there’s adult language, and sex on the page. If any of these bother you, avoid this one.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

I liked many things about this novel, starting with how well the setting is rendered. I felt immersed in the period without awkward lectures or info-dumping. Both of the main characters are complex and three dimensional, and their world is populated by three dimensional, complex people.

The suspense thread is a lot more layered than the blurb would make one think, and the story is told from several characters’ point of view, which allows the reader to believe she knows more than our hero and heroine.
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Death Among the Doilies, by Mollie Cox Bryan

12 Jan

deathamongthedoiliesBack in August of last year, driven by sheer desperation at not having been able to read pretty much anything for months on end, I requested a bunch of ARCs for mysteries, in the hopes that tweaking my reading a bit would help me overcome the horrible, terrible, no good reading slump from hell.

Like so many good plans, it was derailed by life.

Then, in mid-December, I pulled it up on my phone and started it. Almost a month later, and barely 18% in, I’m throwing in the towel. This is the first book by Ms Cox Bryan that I read. Sadly, it will also be the last, as neither the voice, the setting, nor the gimmick worked for me.

Reader, beware: I did not, and will not, finish this book; however, I will rant about what I did manage to read of it, in detail. If you are a fan of this author’s work, you really want to avert your eyes, and go read a glowing review in GoodReads or amazon.

Death Among the Dolies, by Mollie Cox Bryan

Looking over Ms Cox Bryan’s page in fantasticfiction.co.uk, she has a number of books published, and this is the first installment on her second series, the Cora Crafts Mysteries.

Here, have a blurb:
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The Book Club Murders, by Leslie Nagel

7 Jan

bookclubmurdersI confess that, despite knowing better, I was attracted to both the cover and the blurb for this cozy mystery, and was happy to get an ARC some time ago. However, what with one thing and another, it took me a while to get to it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had a really hard time reading anything new to me, for going on two years now. (Pity me.) Therefore, any novel I manage to read all the way through these days feels remarkable in some way, on that basis alone.

As usual, reader beware: there’s a romance alongside the mystery, but there’s no sex on page, and very little ‘objectionable’ language.

The Book Club Murders, by Leslie Nagel

I didn’t know before I started reading the story, but this is Ms Nagel debut release. It is also the first in a series set in Oakwood, OH.

I confess that, after reading a few chapters, I did suspect that this was either a debut, or perhaps a second book, because some of the elements of the story seem to fit rather awkwardly next to each other–such as the romance between our intrepid leading lady, one Charlotte “Charley” Carpenter, and the cop in charge of solving the improbable murders that, apparently out of the blue, are happening in the very quiet community of Oakwood.

Here’s the blurb:

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Wild Invitation, by Nalini Singh

2 Mar

Wild InvitationIt is not a secret for regular readers of my humble blog, that I am a fan of the Psy/Changeling series. Early last year I made a push to finish reviewing all the full length novels in the series, on time for the release this summer of Shards of Hope, the fourteenth title.

However, and despite having won an ARC copy of this all Psy/Changeling novellas anthology back in February 2013 *wince*, I have only reviewed one of the novellas in the series: “Whisper of Sin,” from Burning up.

Operating on the principle that late is better than never, and because a second Psy/Changeling anthology (this one is all new stories, yay!) is in the works for release some time in 2016, here is my review.

Warning: there’s some graphic sex and cursing, and newcomers to the series may be lost–particularly on the last two stories–because of the world building. Read at your own risk. For readers who are behind in the series, the last two stories are spoilerish for Kiss of Snow and Tangle of Need, respectively.

Wild Invitation, by Nalini Singh

This one-author anthology was originally released in March 2013. It contains four stories, though only two were written for it. I’m reviewing them as they appear in the book, though the blurbs for the first novella is from the original release.

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The Murderer’s Daughter, by Jonathan Kellerman

22 Feb

TheMurderer'sDaughterI have no idea how an ARC for this book got on my kindle, but I’m pretty sure it’s been there for a while, since the book came out in August 2015.

Either way, finding myself at loose ends, I scrolled down my kindle library and, when the title caught my eye, started reading it, without the least idea what it was about, but assuming (and, yes, I know how that goes), that it was a suspense of some kind.

I honestly don’t know why I made it past the first chapter, but at some point I was almost–almost, but not quite–hate reading. So I made a deal with myself: if it didn’t get better by the time I hit the quarter mark, I would give up. At twenty-seven percent in, I skimmed some of the end chapters, and threw in the towel.

No you get to see why. (Aren’t you the lucky ones?)

Fair warning: if you enjoy Mr Kellerman’s novels, you probably want to skip this review.

The Murderer’s Daughter, by Jonathan Kellerman

Here, have a blurb:

A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

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Rock Redemption, by Nalini Singh

2 Dec

Rock RedemptionAs most of my regular readers know, I am a fan of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling stories. I have not only read every one of those books; I’ve written fairly positive reviews for all of the full length novels in the series, as well a for a few of the short stories set in the same universe.

I have also read, enjoyed greatly, and reviewed, the first three installments of the Rock Kiss series.

There was no way on earth I wasn’t going to get the next book.

And so, a while back–well before it was released–I asked for, and received, an ARC of this story.

Unfortunately, the reading slump from Hell got in the way; later on, life got in the way, and so on, and so forth. To make an already long story a wee bit less so, here’s a very belated review, filed under “better late than never (maybe).”

Two caveats: I seem to have read a different book than the one I’ve seen reviewed (yes, that’s a hint–don’t read on if you are easily offended), and one of the protagonists is a survivor of child abuse. Read on at your own risk.

Rock Redemption, by Nalini Singh

Kit’s and Noah’s story has been blatantly set up pretty much from the beginning of the series–there’s a very telling scene in Rock Addiction that can be likened to a neon sign flashing: “look! future book protagonists right here!”

Perhaps that’s why, even though I always intended to read their book, I wasn’t as fired up about it as other fans of Ms Singh.

And perhaps that’s why it’s so easy for me to find flaws in the story, the characters, and the writing.

See, this is one of those books where pretty much every trope–and the proverbial kitchen sink–make an appearance. I know I’ve read, and loved, books with an overabundance of trope, but this was not one of them. Not by a long chalk.

Here, have a blurb from Ms Singh’s website:
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