Monday, September 20, 2021

To Ride a White Horse (Out of Ireland #1) [Kathleen & Jack] by Pamela Ford

 ~sigh~ It's one of "those" books. I added this one 6 (!) years ago. I'm not even sure I read HR back then, probably fell in love with the cover then forgot all about it with my unending list of books (focused on familiar authors). I didn't know what to expect from this one, but with it's high review rating (and the enchanting cover) I wasn't going to let it go until I found the right time. That day has come and I can tell you now, I'm going to visit more of Panela's books as this one was IMPOSSIBLE to put down. It was beautiful and heartfelt, as well as sad and crashing especially knowing that even if Kathleen (and Jack) aren't real what the Irish went through is. 

It's 1846 and the Irish are literally starving to death. The English own their lands and expect them to grow everything for their own needs except for tiny plots of land the Irish grow potatoes on (as it's the most efficient plant for sustenance). When the potatoes rot in the ground and the English aren't even considering to help (while still demanding their crops and payment) there is little the Irish can do but stubbornly try to survive. When the second year of rotting potatoes comes it feels as if even the little hope they had is now gone. The Irish are dying of hunger and no one cares. 

Kathleen Deacy is a proud Irishwoman, she never considered leaving Ireland behind but with her brother Sean coming home with a bit (but not enough) money - and without her sweetheart Danny O'Sheehan - she can't expect him to return to Canada when his wife Moira is so close to delivering their first born and she also wants a chance of reuniting with Danny.  Taking a few belonging she sets for Newfoundland. Her journey start bad and turned to the worse when she is thrown out to sea in the middle of a storm. Lucky for her a passing whaling ship passes by and finds her. But upon waking up, nothing is as she expected it to be and while she is treated well she is still crushed with the meaning of this delay. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Gone But Not Forgotten (TIN, #1) [Dex & Sloane] by Charlie Cochet

This has been GREAT! I missed this series so much! I can't believe it's been TWO YEARS since I last read the last one. Funny thing is, I stared reading in the morning and as soon as Austen Payne - now the guys' handler (!) - explains their mission I stopped reading. I just couldn't. It was too much. I wasn't prepared. After launch I had a talk with myself about how ridiculous I am - went back in and finished it in one sitting. 

We are four years after the last installments. The guys have been training for a year and working the field for another three. In a way nothing changed - them working together, being the beautiful couple that they are, and yet it IS different. Firstly them not being a real part of the Destructive Delta Team (with Ash Keeler being their new leader) and having two new team members - Keane and Rowan (both Therian, like all* TIN operatives) as well as some help from Sebastian "Seb" Hobbs (who was already mixed up with TIN business before) and a little from Ash (as Sloane's best friend and someone who worked with him for years and knowns him like only Dex does).

The job Austen and Sonya Sparks (who stayed their boss with a "slight" change in title) have in mind for Dex and Sloane is not just 'dangerous', with that they can handle, it's also quite personal. There's a new villain in town - Howard Vaughan - attempting to manipulate the (new found) Melanoe virus together with the Eppione.8 vaccine in order to make "improved" humans (without them shifting into a Therian). 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Finley Embraces Heart & Home (Love, Austen #4) [Finley & Ethan] by Anyta Sunday

This book was EVERYTHING. It was also quite frankly TORTURE. If you put social norms a side for a second (or a few hours at least ;)) it's one of the purest romances I've ever read. Fin and Ethan's love story was tender and heartfelt. It started when they were young, so very young, and though they tried their best to simply be what society - and mostly their parents - wanted them to be, at a certain point it hurt too much. Like with the previous ones this is another re-telling of Jane's Austen novels, this one being "Mansfield Park" (which I haven't read or seen before). Also, we only get one POV - Finely - and while Ethan's emotions were so very obvious I have a feeling being in HIS head would have been an even greater torture. Fin was always more true to who he is and what he wants, for Ethan it was different with what his father tried tough-loving him to be. 

Finely Price's life crashed down (the second time) when at 15 his mother announces she is going to marry Tom Bertram. As he is still struggling with losing his father, moving into Tom's mansion - Mansfield - is too much too soon. Tom tries to include Finley, be friendly and accommodating but he won't have it. He wanted to hate Tom's son - Ethan - as well, but it simply wasn't possible. As Ethan puts it "You can always try to". They become fast friends. There is something so easy in communicating with each other. Ethan struggles a lot with his emotions, with what he wants or being expected to be (which isn't what his father has in mind) so simply BEING with Fin who says and expresses his feelings openly was liberating . 

There IS something else under the surface, surely from Fin's side, and yet their connection and friendship has always stayed platonic. Loving, caring, yet still keeping a certain distance. Their first kiss is shared 2 years later, on Ethan's graduation party, right before he leaves for a year of traveling in Europe. This sweet and tender kiss should have lasted them the two years apart with a hope (not even a promise) things could be different later on. 

A Death at Candlewick Castle (Jemima Jago Mystery #2) by Emma Jameson

I enjoyed this one, but for some reason it took me a little bit to get back into the story than the first one ("A Death at Seascape House"). The mystery part actually surprised me though I would have liked Emma to somehow expand a little bit more about the killer's character and motives. We got them but somehow it wasn't enough for me. I liked the progression of relationship between Jem and both her potential love interests - Hank and Rhys. There's definitely more to explore there in the next installment (to be out early 2022). Jem felt a lot more integrated into the community and living on the islands and we do get maybe how she could manage it, as well as progression of Pauley and Micki's characters and their development which was also great (will each also find a HEA? I hope so!). Though Jem is our sole POV, there are a lot of characters to be invested in. 

Going to a party with her two best friends Jem takes her new boat Bellatrix to one of the islands only to discover upon anchoring (another) dead body. She does a little bit of sleuthing (naturally) before she contacts Hack and even if she thought to leave it (as she doesn't know the victim) when someone she cares about gets arrested she cannot sit by and let that happen, though there is motive and maybe even enough evidence she simply doesn't believe it. There is a lot to uncover, new characters to be introduced (as probable suspects - naturally) and old ones to be revisited. As well as friendships to establish and develop. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

A Death at Seascape House (Jemima Jago Mystery #1) by Emma Jameson

Okay, truth being told I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. For a mystery or even someone getting back into the place she grew up in and pretty much everyone hates (or at least doubts) it was actually funny and entertaining! I mean, there are dark moments - murder.. a sad past.. - but the whole vibe somehow felt sunny and fresh, like walking on the beach - what the Isles of Scilly have in spades. 

Jemima Jago grew up in St. Morwenna. Her life growing up wasn't ideal when you consider she was left there by her dad when he found himself a new family, but while she wasn't accepted by some, she had her loving grandma and her close group of friends - her besti Pauley Gwyn, her boyfriend Rhys Tremayne and his younger brother Cam. Until the day she didn't have any of them anymore. Leaving at the age of 14 she couldn't believe she'd ever have a reason to return. 

Now, almost 20 years later, she found the opportunity and though she isn't sure about seeing any of the town's people, there is one place she is interested in - Pauley Gwyn's ancient library. Working at the Royal Institute of Cornwall and the Courtney Library she is tasked with cataloging and authenticating the Gwyn's family library. As a librarian it's her dream come true!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Fall of Night (Midnight Breed #17) [Micah & Phaedra] by Lara Adrian

It's been a while since I've last read this series but coming back to it always feels so welcoming. I read this book almost in one setting, enjoying the ride, and everything that is unfolding towards the final installment. I admit I waited with this one a bit because I wanted it to be closer to the release of the last book and I think it was a good idea as the ending brings even more complexity than I would have thought. Also I really enjoyed getting a bit more of the original couples - Tegan and Elise - as Micah's parents but also a quite surprising part with Jenna and Brock (From "Taken by Midnight"). Truth being told I forgot there were some unfinished business concerning her special ability. 

Micah and Phaedra couldn't be more different. He, the son of Breed Warrior Tegan and his breedmate Elise, worked hard to become a fighter his legendary father can be proud of. Sharing his mother's gift of telepathically hearing the sins of humans has hardened him even more, making him one of the best warriors in the Order, currently in command of covet ops. She, and Atlantean living among humans for centuries dedicating her life to stopping the cycle of violence, running a shelter for women and children in need. They meet for the first time in the deadlands of Siberian taiga for a brief moment before a deadly light kills all Micah's team, and severely wounding him. For Phaedra this was just a bad dream, or so it seems, after a week long of dreaming of walking through those deadlands following a white doe. Micah experienced those same dreams himself which is what made him try and find this place. He didn't expect it would cost him (and his teammates) so much. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Salvation (Darkest Skies, #3) [Dante & Sid] by Garrett Leigh

Beautiful. SO beautiful. If you've read the 1st installment you already know who Dante Pope is and you probably have zero sympathies for him. He made his brother's life – and so many others – living hell. I think Dante wants to believe in redemption but it's so hard to conceptualize with the life he lived and the decisions he made. Nothing could make it right and people doesn't really change. Yet the last two years in prison did make some sort of difference for him. It's not that he learned how to (take) care for people, but starting out with planets seems to work. This is how he finds himself, once release, working as the gardeners' help at Wilburn Manor (so far away from London and his not so far past). 

Sid Harrison doesn't WANT any help, but he needs it. For the past two years a chronic illness has wrecked his life and the person he used to be. Constant pain and various neurological disfunctions are his daily routine now, so when his boss (and sometimes friend) Benjamin Heath not so much offers him help in the form of the fresh out of prison – gorgeous looking – Dante his first reaction is – this ISN'T how he should be feeling about the guy but also, he might as well use the help offered. 

Dante and Sid simply get along. Dante is hard working and quiet and while he sees all of Sid's difficulties (better than he should maybe) he doesn't treat him like Ben and Anna (his twin sister) does – someone who needs constant chaperoning (as seems to not be able to care for himself). There's honestly and respect in Dante's eyes and appreciation too. His own feelings towards Dante hasn't changed from his initial reaction to Dante's photo (they only deepened) but acting upon it is complicated. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Lars (Witches of London #1) [Lars & Rhys] by Aleksandr Voinov

I don't know how to classify this book but what I can say is I simply couldn't connect with it. I think it would have been better for me with dual POV. Lars' beliefs are his own and generally speaking it doesn't matter to me that he is Pagan or the specifics of it, there was just TOO MUCH of it. I've read enough Paranormal novels so I tried thinking about this one as such, but it ISN'T. While some things I CAN believe in most of his and his friends' beliefs, it was still very alien to me. I don't want to sound disrespectful because I DO realize some people live this way, including Aleksander who I've heard practices some sort of Paganism(?), I have no issue with that, on the contrary I'm a real advocate to "you do you". That being said, I'm not that curious to the "ins and outs" of these beliefs being a firm atheist. 

Not much happens romantically in the first 3rd of the story. Lars Kendall has a builder company. He accepts a job fixing Rhys Turner's house. From their first meeting Lars seems more than intrigues with the guy but he is a professional so even when Rhys shares he is gay - the first move doesn't come from him. There's also a lot to be revealed about Rhys' current decisions with the house and it's location considering how he used to live before. Some was disclosed but I feel like there's still quite a lot more.

The main story wasn't Lars and Rhys but Lars' Pagan belief and his new found friendship with a group of gay practitioners. Honestly this is what mostly put me off of this story. Their overly perfect connection and the heavy emphasis on Paganism/ Magick.