Buried By Books

I'm a romance and mystery book blogger who loves to bake and whine about snowstorms.

Unbroken by Maisey Yates

Unbroken - Maisey Yates

I'm by no means impartial when it comes to this story. I've read (and loved) the previous books in the series, and I've been looking forward to this one for quite awhile. I was predisposed to like it, in other words, but the fact that it really hit all of my reader buttons is the real reason I ended up loving it.

This is a friends-to-lovers story, my very favorite trope in Romancelandia.  And it's funny and sarcastic. Button number 2. And HOT. So no big surprise that this really worked for me.

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Source: http://buriedbybooks.blogspot.com

TBR Challenge Review: Taking Care of Business by Kathy Lyons

Taking Care of Business (Harlequin Blaze, #576) - Kathy Lyons

Format: mass market, ebook
Pub Date: November 2010
Publisher: Harlequin
Length: 215 pages
FTC: Received for free at an RT Convention
Posted as part of the TBR Challenge

 It starts with some anonymous groping in a crowded elevator...

I've never read a Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons book that I can recall. My issues with this one may be just rural, sheltered naivete. Having someone press an erection against me in a crowded elevator would creep me right out, but hey, maybe I'm in the minority?

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Source: http://buriedbybooks.blogspot.com/2014/01/tbr-challenge-review-taking-care-of.html
Sleigh Bells in the Snow - Sarah Morgan

Mini review:

This book marks a 2 for 2 success rate for me with Sarah Morgan's books. It's a welcome surprise given the reading slump I've been enduring these last few months.  Although there are the occasional slips where British vs American usage peek through in dialogue (most notably "good job" for "good thing"), the author creates a terrific Vermont Christmas atmosphere while delivering on some serious emotional depth.

 

My biggest complaint for romance lately has been the lack of effort to craft believable characters and settings. So much focus on plot and little to no time devoted to telling a fully realized story. Fortunately, that doesn't happen here, as every character is vividly shown. There's some obvious sequel bait, but it didn't overwhelm the story, so I ignored it.

Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

Motorcycle Man  - Kristen Ashley

Format: ebook
Pub Date: December 2012
Publisher: Forever (Hachette)
FTC: purchased myself
Length: 136,000 words
Why it was in the TBR: Comparisons to crack. Not sure why that influenced me, except I wanted a massive reading glom.

This month's TBR Challenge theme is All About the Hype and this book really qualifies. Everyone is in love with Kristen Ashley's books.

Everyone, it seems, but me.

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Source: http://buriedbybooks.blogspot.com/2013/11/tbr-challenge-review-motorcycle-man-by.html

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh [Review]

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh - Ella Quinn

Format: ebook
Publisher: Kensington
Pub Date: November 7, 2013
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

This wouldn't have been half bad if every plot device ever used in a historical romance wasn't crammed in here. I liked the characters a lot, but the writing itself was riddled with cliches and tired scenarios.

You have the not-so-secret-crush. The woman-dressed-as-a-man smuggler. The spies. The amnesiac. The trouble on the road home. Your token strumpet. It's like the author threw every possible twist into a Bingo tumbler and wrote what she pulled out at random. Any one of those would have been fine, but to this experienced reader, it was all a bit over the top. I'll suspend my disbelief for one of them. But altogether? Nope.

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Source: http://buriedbybooks.blogspot.com/2013/11/review-secret-life-of-miss-anna-marsh.html

TBR Challenge Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Dragon Bound - Thea Harrison

Format: Mass market. Also available in ebook.
Pub Date: May 2011
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
Length: 312 pages
FTC: Purchased myself. From Borders. :(
Why it was in the TBR: Lots of squeeing online about how different/fantastic/etc.

I've been trying to get in the mood to read this book since it came out.  I must have picked it up three or four times at least only to put it right back down again. The beginning few paragraphs just didn't hook me. In fact, this time, it probably took me at least 10 pages before I was at all interested in what was going on. If it weren't for the TBR Challenge, I'd have put it down again

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Meet Pickles, the cat who lives in Hobbiton

Reblogged from Literary Creature:

Pickles is a lucky cat. Not only was she the only survivor when someone threw her and her littermates out of a car, the person who found her worked on the set of Hobbiton. So this is where she now lives.

Story here.

Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis

Always On My Mind - Jill Shalvis

I'm a big, unapologetic Jill Shalvis fan. Her writing voice perfectly matches up with my reading preferences: funny, occasionally sarcastic, sexy, genuine, and a little off-kilter. I'm so happy that her Lucky Harbor series is getting the attention it deserves (although I wouldn't say no to more Wilder books. *ahem*).  The newest in the LH series, Always on My Mind, is one of my favorites. It's a friends to lovers story, my absolute favorite-est trope in all of Romancelandia. And it has baking in it. Anyone who knows me even just a little will understand why that appeals.

 

Leah has returned to Lucky Harbor after completing her appearance on a reality tv cooking competition to help her grandmother run her bakery while she recovers from knee surgery. Stuck in a rut and unsure of her future, she experiments with recipes and keeps everyone addicted to lots of sugar. And quietly pines for local firefighter Jack Harper, who is quite firmly in the 'friend' zone. Things change quickly, though, when a misguided impulse to cheer up Jack's mother turns into a massive deception that has her in a fictional hot and heavy relationship with Jack.

 

I loved watching Jack and Leah fall in love.  Shalvis gave us enough backstory here to understand why these two people, who had maintained a friendship over years and years, would deepen that relationship.  And is typical with the rest of the Lucky Harbor series, there's plenty of matchmaking, interfering, and general nosiness from the rest of the town to provide some hilarious episodes along the way.

 

In the background of the romance is an arsonist mystery, which has the entire Lucky Harbor community on edge as building after building goes up in flames.

 

The "big lie" in this one felt a little thin—and old fashioned—but it was redeemed somewhat by having everyone but Leah and Jack aware of the "deception." I also didn't really feel like the arson storyline meshed as well as it could have with the rest of the book. It's probably because I've seen too many Criminal Minds episodes, but that wasn't the least bit mysterious or suspenseful. Granted, this isn't romantic suspense, but it felt out of place given the tone of the rest of the book.

 

My Grade: A-

RT 2014 Convention Registration Open!

So after a delay of 2 months beyond the promised opening date, registration is FINALLY open for the RT Booklovers' Convention in New Orleans. We now have seven long months to wait until the convention which runs May 13-18th.

 

We have a partial agenda up, and as usual for me, the Reader track is...not very interesting. I'm a bit of a serious soul. I don't mind silly games and raunchy Pictionary. I really don't. But I want some serious book discussions, too, and that is sadly missing so far from the Reader track at RT14. Which means that, as usual, I'm going to be sitting in on author workshops even though I'm not an author.

 

For RT newbies, it's important to keep in mind that this is a convention and not a conference. It's great for networking and there are quite a few professional development options for authors, but this is primarily a social event geared towards celebrating our love of the romance and mystery genres. Readers get to have unfettered access to authors on mostly equal grounds. Most of the fun will be found outside the workshops in the hallways and restaurants chatting with new friends and old.

 

I for one am ridiculously excited to be able to finally visit New Orleans. I've never been. And I'm hoping to meet in Real Life those Twitter friends I've made over the last 4 years--and reconnecting with those I've met before. I missed RT this year, but I'm definitely going to RT14 in NOLA. I hope to see many of you there!

Magic Rises - Ilona Andrews Listened to this one on audio. The beginning was slow, with lots of recapping and build up to the expedition for the Panacea.
Maran Illustrated Bartending - maranGraphics Development Group A nice variety of cocktails, but the way it is organized is the real prize. A nice starter book.
It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor, #7) - Jill Shalvis



One Hit Wonder (Rock Stars in Love #1.5) - Elyssa Patrick Cute and short. Great characters, but the ending was a little off for me.
Heart of Obsidian - Nalini Singh

So much emotion and a huge stylistic departure. Not like any of the other books in the series.
Love Irresistibly - Julie James

3.5 stars. My least favorite of her books. Favorite character was neither hero or heroine, but heroine's best friend. Noticed tons of Vanity Capitals and words-smooshed-with-hyphens. Which I probably wouldn't have picked up on if the story were a little more engaging. Still smart, sexy and unapologetically urban. Nice palate cleanser for the parade of small town contemps these days.
Smart and Sexy - Jill Shalvis

I adore JS but this lacked humor and engaging characters. Suspense plot was silly.