4 Followers
15 Following
miscjoy

MiscJoy

Writer. Book Reviewer. Shower Singer. Gadget Girl.
 

(Reviews posted at The Book Pushers)

Guardian (The Protectors #2)

Guardian - Nancy Northcott

I have been anxiously awaiting Northcott’s follow-up to Renegade, the first book of The Protector series, ever since I reviewed it last fall. I loved that book and couldn’t wait to get back to the interesting world of mages, mundanes and ghouls that Northcott had created. Also, I knew the story would focus on Dr. Stefan Harper, a character I had really enjoyed in the first book...

Full review posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/07/11/review-guardian-the-protectors-2-by-nancy-northcott/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/07/11/review-guardian-the-protectors-2-by-nancy-northcott

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty - Elle Lothlorien

Lothlorien’s clean, fast-paced writing style and voice hooked me in from the beginning. Then her characters grabbed me and wouldn’t let go...

Full review posted at The Book Pushers on 6/26/13: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/06/26/review-sleeping-beauty-by-elle-lothlorien/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/06/26/review-sleeping-beauty-by-elle-lothlorien

Hearts of Shadow (Deadglass #2)

Hearts of Shadow - Kira Brady

..MiscJoy: I also thought the premise looked fascinating and was excited to get a review copy of Hearts of Shadow. What hooked me in, however, was the author’s writing style. I enjoyed Brady’s voice and approach to the story development. She kept the writing active and the pace moving forward. Even though I had a few quibbles here and there, I can forgive much when the author’s writing style is strong.

I enjoyed how Grace and Leif’s characters developed both individually as well as together. I got a sense of who each character was as a person before the romance fully blossomed. I liked Grace’s spunky (if at times, stubborn) attitude and her courage in the face of overwhelming odds. I also enjoyed Leif’s progression from reclusive-scientist-cum-reluctant-leader to someone who fully embraced the challenge set before him. I admired both Grace and Leif’s willingness to make tough choices and find solutions to the dangerous dilemmas that faced them...

Read the full joint review posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/06/06/joint-review-hearts-of-shadow-deadglass-2-by-kira-brady/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/06/06/joint-review-hearts-of-shadow-deadglass-2-by-kira-brady

The Water Witch

The Water Witch  - Juliet Dark, Carol Goodman

...There were so many convenient coincidences and easy solutions to what should have been challenging problems in this story that detracted from my overall experience of it. Callie never really had to fight for things the hard way and she was presented with easy ways to circumvent her biggest obstacles. So, like I wrote earlier, my review of the book sounds sort of ranty and I’m not sure why because even for all that I still kinda liked the story. I think that’s because the author’s writing ability was good making for a readable story even if the story elements themselves left a bit to be desired...

Full review posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/04/25/review-the-water-witch-by-juliet-dark/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/04/25/review-the-water-witch-by-juliet-dark

The Long Way Home (Chesapeake Diaries #6)

The Long Way Home - Mariah Stewart

This is a slice-of-life story set in a small seaside town where the protagonist’s journey evolves amongst the quaint backdrop of St. Dennis with a cast of side characters woven throughout. After Ellie’s life falls apart – the result of criminal acts perpetrated by her father and fiance – she decides to regroup by moving into the house she inherited from her mother. The house had been left vacant for many years and needs some work. Enter Cameron, the local contractor who has been keeping an eye on the house for many years.

 

Initially, Ellie thinks the house is just a house, but she soon comes to realize that the house has served as a refuge for many people in the St. Dennis community. She also learns that she didn’t know very much about her own mother. As she begins to unravel the history of her mother’s life in St. Dennis, she comes to realize her own connection to the town...

 

Read the full review as posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/03/01/review-the-long-way-home-by-mariah-stewart/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/03/01/review-the-long-way-home-by-mariah-stewart

Televenge

Televenge - Pamela King Cable

...In general, I think Cable has a great voice and I appreciated the writing style although at times the prose felt a bit heavy-handed and self-indulgent. The story is told in first person, mostly from Andie’s POV however we do get to experience the story from a few other POVs as well. Reverend Artury’s POVs are chilling. The first half of the book moved at a good pace, but the second half of the book, at times, felt a bit bloated and the pace bogged down with the tedium of Andie’s daily life and her seemingly never-ending struggle to survive. As a result, I lost the connection to the tension and suspense elements because they seemed to disappear from the narrative for chapters at a time. We really don’t get a reprieve from the starkness of the story until the last one-hundred pages. Despite that, this is a well-written dark and gripping tale that pulls you along every painful moment of Andie’s life as she struggles for freedom from a loveless marriage and an oppressive and dangerous church...

Full review posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/02/01/review-with-giveaway-televenge-by-pamela-king-cable/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/02/01/review-with-giveaway-televenge-by-pamela-king-cable

Destiny's Embrace

Destiny's Embrace - Beverly Jenkins

When the opportunity to review Destiny’s Embrace came my way, I jumped at the chance as I’ve had Jenkins’ Night Hawk on my TBR pile for a while. Typical historicals are usually based on the ton, however Jenkins creates characters who are ordinary people trying to survive in a world where things don’t always come easy. I appreciate the diversity of Jenkins’ stories and the focus on historical accuracy in her depiction of daily life in the late 1800’s.

 

I think one of Jenkins’ strengths is in the development of her characters. Sadly, this is one of the primary reasons Destiny’s Embrace didn’t work for me. I never really warmed up to Logan. He was a bit of an ass. He was selfish and arrogant and although there was an attempt to show his character development, I never really bought his “redemption.” Toward the end, as we were supposed to see him in a different light having been transformed by love, I felt his motivations continued to be rooted in his own self-interests. I had mixed feelings about Mariah. She had a tragic upbringing and suffered her mother’s abuse and hatred for thirty years. While under her mother’s thumb, Mariah exhibited a meek and submissive demeanor. But then, as if overnight, she becomes a feisty, independent woman. While I like the idea that someone who has been so mistreated for so long could wake up one day and decide to be a completely different kind of person, in reality I don’t think the transition would be so easy.

 

I found the narrative to be heavy on the tell and light on actual character interaction. I also felt the narrative often drifted away from the forward momentum of the story and into backstory...

 

Full review posted on January 24, 2013 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/24/review-destinys-embrace-by-beverly-jenkins/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/24/review-destinys-embrace-by-beverly-jenkins

The Seventh Victim

The Seventh Victim - Mary Burton

In this Romantic Suspense, Lara has been on the run for the past seven years after surviving an attack in which she had been drugged, raped and nearly strangled to death. She was left with little-to-no memory of the attack – certainly nothing that could help the detectives with her case. Her attacker, the Seattle Strangler, was never caught and seemed to disappear. When she finally returns to her childhood home in Austin to deal with her late grandmother’s estate, she begins to feel a sense of belonging and realizes that her years of running have left her adrift and alone. Just as she begins to settle in, the killings start up again.

 

I’m a bit conflicted as I sit down to write this review. On the one hand, I did mostly enjoy this story. Yes, it has some problems, but I found myself entertained anyway. On the other hand, I just didn’t find this Romantic Suspense all that suspenseful. I had figured out who attacked Lara seven years ago by the second or third time this person entered into the story. I also felt there were some pretty clear dots a detective should have easily connected (after all, they were present in the narrative), but instead everyone just kept scratching their heads wondering who the killer was and why the MO had changed. As a result, the Rangers just came off as being rather inept on the whole. But I’m getting ahead of myself...

 

Read the full review as posted on January 21, 2013 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/21/review-the-seventh-victim-by-mary-burton/

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/21/review-the-seventh-victim-by-mary-burton

Taste of Ice

A Taste of Ice - Hanna Martine

...MiscJoy: I enjoyed Martine’s writing style. It was engaging and character-focused. She hit a good balance between character interaction, internal dialogue for deeper more personal insights and creating scenes that moved the story along at a good pace. The romance does develop a bit fast, but it wasn’t smooth-sailing and had fits and starts that, given Xavier’s history, made it seem more realistic. I think Martine created compelling characters in Xavier and Cat. Xavier was clearly a traumatized person with a horrendous history of sexual abuse. Cat challenged every boundary he had made for himself and as much as he was afraid of what might happen should he let her in his life, he craved the normalcy of what she offered. I liked how Cat used humor and sarcasm to distract Xavier from his social awkwardness and brooding thoughts and snap him back into the moment with her. Cat was so sensitive to Xavier’s needs even when she didn’t fully understand what he was going through. She was able to think through her knee-jerk response of feeling rejected and wanting to storm out to realizing that it wasn’t about her and the mature thing to do was extend the line of communication for whenever he was ready to address it...

 

Read the full joint review as posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/03/joint-review-a-taste-of-ice-by-hanna-martine/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/03/joint-review-a-taste-of-ice-by-hanna-martine

Shadow Woman

Shadow Woman - Linda Howard

Interesting premise, but the narrative was bogged down, the pace too slow, and the romance took too long to make an appearance.

 

Read the full joint review with Has posted on December 31, 2012 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/31/joint-review-shadow-woman-by-linda-howard/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/31/joint-review-shadow-woman-by-linda-howard

The Trouble with Fate

The Trouble With Fate - Leigh Evans

I had a difficult time getting into this book at first, but by the end I was definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

 

Read the full joint review posted on December 27, 2012 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/27/review-the-trouble-with-fate-by-leigh-evans/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/27/review-the-trouble-with-fate-by-leigh-evans

Bet You'll Marry Me

Bet You'll Marry Me - Darlene Panzera

Well. Shoot. This just did not work for me. I thought the blurb had a bit of a fun element to it and I had read a short snippet of the broomstick-and-barroom scene prior to deciding to review this book and thought it had the potential to be humorous. But the story sorta took a different course than I was expecting and I found myself annoyed instead.

 

The local barkeep puts out a bet on who Jenny will marry because everyone is aware of her dire financial situation. It has become common knowledge that the bank has given her a deadline so now of course she’ll “have to marry to save Windy Meadows” and all the locals think it would be fun to place bets on when and who. First of all: really? Why does she have to get married as the only means of saving her ranch? This is a Contemporary Romance, right?

 

In general, I did not like the plot or the setup or any of the character’s motivations. There were just too many unbelievable elements to the story and I kept being pulled out of the story with all my eye-rolling. And I never really got passed the (hopefully unintentional) parallelism between Jenny’s worth as a woman being tied to her property…that a woman is property. Of course, nothing was so blatant in the narrative as to suggest that outright. But what else am I to take from the basic premise of the story where all the single men in town were vying for her hand because once they married her, in addition to winning the bet, they would “get” her land?...

 

Read the full review as posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/21/review-bet-youll-marry-me-by-darlene-panzera/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/21/review-bet-youll-marry-me-by-darlene-panzera

The Lady Most Willing

The Lady Most Willing...: A Novel in Three Parts - Eloisa James, Connie Brockway, Julia Quinn

A fun romp and a solid read. Review posted on December 20, 2012 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/20/review-the-lady-most-willing-by-julia-quinn-eloisa-james-and-connie-brockway/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/20/review-the-lady-most-willing-by-julia-quinn-eloisa-james-and-connie-brockway

True Love at Silver Creek Ranch

True Love at Silver Creek Ranch - Emma Cane

This is a slow-moving slice-of-life contemporary Romance set in the small mountain town of Valentine. It has everything going for it that I enjoy: mountains, ranches, horses, strong female characters, attractive war-weary veteran male lead all wrapped up in a small town vibe. The story itself has some sweet ancillary elements to it that hang out in the background: community efforts to support veterans, a troubled teen who needs some guidance, a group of feisty Grandmas (“the Widows”), a businesswoman who just wants to help the women of Valentine feel pretty, refurbishing old buildings within the town into thriving businesses. These elements ghost in and out of the narrative and support that slice-of-life feel. However, the primary focus of the story – the romance between Brooke and Adam – took awhile to grow on me.

 

A lot of that has to do with how the story begins to take shape. First, the insta-attraction trope is used to develop a base for Brooke and Adam’s relationship. Rather than having the relationship develop organically, the attraction felt forced. Also, everyone starts immediately scheming to get them together. I kept asking why? The only answer I could come up with was because Adam was the proverbial prodigal son returned and Brooke was single. But that’s not really an answer for why two people should be together...

 

Read the full review as posted on December 13, 2012 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/13/review-true-love-at-silver-creek-ranch-by-emma-cane/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/13/review-true-love-at-silver-creek-ranch-by-emma-cane

White Horse

White Horse: A Novel - Alex Adams

MiscJoy: Where to begin with a book of this nature? I think the obvious choice is the prose. Adams presents us with a story written with some of the most beautiful prose I’ve come across in awhile. The richness of the language and the author’s voice drew me in immediately. Just stunning. I found myself pausing frequently just to admire the narrative...

 

Read the full joint review as posted on December 10, 2012 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/10/joint-review-white-horse-by-alex-adams/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/10/joint-review-white-horse-by-alex-adams

Miracle in New Hope

Miracle in New Hope - Kaki Warner

Kaki Warner has presented us with a lovely novella that, although not overtly related to the holiday season, is a particularly heartwarming story and just perfect for this time of year. One of the many challenges of writing a novella is creating a story that feels complete and not rushed. I actually felt like I was reading a full-length novel, but not because it took a long time to read. Rather because of the slow thoroughness to the language Warner uses to anchor the story in backcountry living. You get the sense that life has a much slower pace – as one might expect when the fastest mode of travel involves horses. This does not translate as boring however, far from it. The writing style and language is engaging.

 

My favorite section of the book includes the first third or so of the story where the narrative firmly grounds us in Daniel’s character. I enjoyed getting to know Daniel, his daily life experiences and musings. Clearly, Daniel is an intuitive, something probably not really discussed or perhaps even fully examined back in 1871. I found Warner’s approach to this interesting. She chose a straightforwardness to it, presented it in a matter-of-fact way as I could imagine it being discussed (or not) during that time period. There was a brief sanity check and then an acceptance and life moved on. No navel gazing or wonderment at the specialness of it...

 

Read the full review as posted at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/05/review-miracle-in-new-hope-by-kaki-warner/

 

Source: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/12/05/review-miracle-in-new-hope-by-kaki-warner