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mlleelizabeth

Liz Loves Books

I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.

Summer Series Reading

This summer I tried to bang through some series that have been sitting on my kindle for a long, long time. I’m not going to review every book. I’m just going to toss up some mini reviews of the series, generally.

 

Series 1: Maya Banks - Kelly Group International (KGI) Series

 

Overall: Good, solid enjoyable series. There were no books I hated or wanted to throw across the room and several that I liked a lot. Of all of Ms. Banks’s series, this one is my favorite. For most of the series, there’s a good balance between suspense and romance, likeable heroines and heroes and interesting stories. These books are less erotic than many of her other romances (though the love scenes are explicit). There’s almost nothing kinky in them. Best of all there is no bathing. (Long time readers of Ms. Banks will understand what I mean by this!) These are the books I would recommend to a first time Banks reader. Several reviews mention the books taking a turn towards paranormal romance. There is a bit of that, but it only comes up in two books out of the entire series and I didn’t feel it was too heavy handed. The only downside to the series for me is that the books seem to lose some of their suspense as the series goes on. There are a few books to come and I’m hoping Ms. Banks gets her taste for suspense writing back. Considering who the heroes will be, I’m betting she will. I’d give the entire series 4.5 overall.

 

Series 2: Susan Mallery - Fools Gold Series

 

I wish I could draw a chart of this series. It would go something like:

 

Good book, horrible book, good book, novella, strange book, mediocre book, half good-half horrible book, novella, horrible book, mediocre book, horrible book, novella.

 

The writing is not structurally awful. In fact, in many cases it is quite good. Ms. Mallery’s problems have to do with her plot points and ideas and in some cases with shoddy research and bizarre takes on things like medicine and law. Her bad law makes me especially angry. I thought her bad family law in the second book was as bad as it would get but no. Her bad property law and criminal law is so very much worse. (And to be honest, the reviews of the bad property law book on goodreads are full of additional bad property law so there’s just bad law all around for the book with the bad property law.) Oh, but then there is the thing that makes me super angry: sex as a cure for post-rape ptsd/trauma. That seriously made me ragey.

 

In my opinion this series would work as a light sports romance series. She’s got a bicycle rider, and a football player who have pretty good stories. She’s got an underwear model/stunt man who could have had his story sportsed-up a bit (and the horrible, awful part re: the sex as a cure for post-rape ptsd/trauma taken out). That could be the nucleus of a good series. Instead we get a town that supposedly has few men despite there being more than enough men for all the heroines and rage inducing plot points. But hey, her grammar is good and there are occasional puppies.

 

Eh, I am spending too much time thinking about a series I dislike a lot. I own a few more books in this series and I will probably read them despite my dislike. Why? I don’t know. I just probably will. Overall I would give this series 2.5 stars and that’s being generous.  Depending on my mood I might give it less than 1.


Series 3: Jaci Burton - Play by Play Series

 

Erotic sports romance. Not the best out there but far from the worst. Ms. Burton’s style is a bit choppy in my opinion. But the stories are good and the heroes are delicious and it filled my sports romance needs for a while. I know that’s not much of a review but these didn’t stick with me much. They are just sports romances that I like fairly well.  Overall I would give them 3.5 stars.

 

I’m currently working on Kallypso Masters’s Masters at Arms series. I’ve only made it through the prequel and about half of the first book, though, so I’ll wait to review it.

A Non-Book Post. Actually, a Cat Post.

I have 2 cats: Ti, who is overweight (19 lbs.!!!) and put on 3 lbs. over the past year and Loki, who is a little underweight (10.5 lbs.) and lost 2 lbs. over the past year. Ti is a big bully, though I understand from his point of view he is just taking care of himself and dealing with whatever issues he had when he joined our family as best he can. I take full responsibility for both of their weight problems. I’ve been trying to find a solution for a couple of years. We have gotten to the point where I believe Ti has told Loki that he can only eat canned food and only a portion of that. Loki seems frightened of the kibble bowls I put out for them.

 

I’ve googled and researched and talked to fellow cat owners and vets and over and over people tell me to separate them when they are eating. Unfortunately with this pair, that doesn’t work. Loki will not eat unless Ti is in the room with him. I’ve tried separating them with their food dishes for hours several times and Loki sits by the door the entire time, pining for Ti. I think he has Stockholm Syndrome. My supervision of mealtime helps, but it is only a partial solution. Ti is still able to intimidate Loki and push him away from the food and once intimidated, Loki will refuse to eat at all.

 

But I think I have finally found a solution:

 

The MeowSpace

 

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Diary of a Wanted Woman

Diary of a Wanted Woman - Donnee Patrese

Sorry, woman, I don't want you.

 

This is a long book written in diary form by a character that seems very unlikeable to me and I do not want to spend that much time in her head.

 

Also, someone needs to edit it or at the very least proofread it.

Surprised I've Read as Much as I Have

Over the last 3 months. I think I have one more week to get some fun reading done. Then  I have finals coming up in a few weeks. 

 

After that, I am descending into Math Hell.  I have not taken a math class in 30 years.  No, closer to 35.  My plan is to teach the glass to myself, possibly with the help of a tutor, over the 16 weeks from the beginning of May to the end of August.  If I feel comfortable enough, I will then actually take the class in the fall.  If not, I will drop it and take something else and do another round of teaching myself with a tutor. 

 

I only have 35 hours left to take, but I feel like I won't do it if I don't get math out of the way.

Now on Kindle: Delights and Prejudices

Delights and Prejudices - James Beard The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition - M.F.K. Fisher

This was the first foodie book I ever read.  My parents had a copy and I devoured it.  Several times.  There are parts of it I memorized when I was a child.  I reread this book in paperback format recently and it was a very different experience as an adult.  The man was undoubtedly a snob but boy howdy can he describe food.  The opening of chapter on potatoes, the description of the food served by his mother's Chinese-American servants, the oysters...

 

I still think of appetizers as doots after all these years.

 

The book was released in Kindle format on 03/03/15.  Link: http://tinyurl.com/prk8fnw

 

Seeing this reminded me how much I wish MFK Fisher's books were available on kindle, so I went looking to see if maybe they might be and, yes!  Some of them are!  Her books have been available on kindle for a while.  I guess it's been a long time since I looked. Here's a link to The Art of Eating:  http://tinyurl.com/l3fsvvl.  It's a wonderful book. If I didn't have a project to work on for class I would spend this weekend reading it.

Please help me remember

Binding Arbitration - Elizabeth Marx

Why i am so reluctant to read this book. Is it P2P fanfic or is it just that it's NA and i am wary of NA romance?  I'm not finding it tagged with P2P or on any P2P lists but i still associated with books i won't read like FSOG and Wallbanger.  Have any of ypu read it or do you know its origin?

Winter of the Wolf Review

Winter of the Wolf - Cherise Sinclair

I love shifter romances as you can probably tell from my Big List of Shifter Romances. This is one of the better examples I've read.

 

Ms. Sinclair's done a much better job of world building than I usually find in shifter romances.  With the massive number of popular shifter romances out there, It's not all that easy to make them unique without making them hokey.  I think Ms. Sinclair's done that, mainly by writing very character-driven books that don't rely on too much paranormal fluff to give them flavor.  The trio at the center of this book have great chemistry and fit together really well.  (Yes, it is a menage though there are not a lot of threesome love scenes).  There is suspense from both within and without the pack and that works well also.

 

I often skim through both fight scenes and love scenes.  They become too drawn out and often don't add enough to the story to make them worth reading.  I read all of them here, without skimming.  They do add to both the plot and characterization which was a refreshing change.  (Plus Cherise Sinclair does love scenes extremely well.)

 

The only think that wasn't great for me was that it had been quite a while since I read the first book in the series and it didn't come back to me all that quickly.  As much as I love this world, it didn't pull me in instantly. 

Just ... Just No.... No No No No No

Divine Grace - Heather Rainier Her Gentle Giant, Part 1: No Regrets - Heather Rainier Her Gentle Giant, Part 2: Remember to Dance - Heather Rainier

I was reading Her Gentle Giant, Part 1 (which I thought was fairly boring) and noticed references to a menage grouping that must have appeared in a previous book, so I downloaded this, book 1 in the series, and started reading it instead. 

 

It has two huge problems:

 

1) It is incredibly boring.  There are many, many sex scenes strung together with minimal, boring story.

 

And

 

2)  Two words:  Horse Porn.

 

Seriously.  Several long, graphic descriptions of horses having sex and the heroine getting off on it.  I can't take any more of it. No human has actually had sex with a horse but it is close enough to be disturbing.  And yes, they characters in the book actually use the phrase "horse porn" more than once.

 

DNFing this one and the following books, Her Gentle Giant Part 1 and Her Gentle Giant Part 2 because No.  I am not reading boring horse porn.

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Sea Of Dreams - Kathryn Le Veque

I have some strong doubts about this one.  Already there has been snickering.  If someone smirks, I'll have to DNF.

 

I am immersed in class and physical therapy right now, so no real reviews.  But things are going well.  Hope everyone else is doing well also.

The Icarus Plot is FREE! for 24 hours

Reblogged from Jenny Schwartz :
The Icarus Plot - Jenny Schwartz

Happy day! THE ICARUS PLOT is free today (and by "today" I mean Amazon's American timezone for Jan 3) -- that means you have 24 hours to snap up my new release and tell your friends to do the same. Already has a five star rating (from a stranger! unsolicited review) and it's fun!

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RM8FHUQ

 

Ivana March runs a very special toy shop in the heart of Victorian London. The last person she expects to see enter it is an earl. Not that she has time to entertain him. Someone is stealing children, and the street kids whisper tales of a “Metal Man”. Ivana must find the monster, rescue the children, and if the earl really wants to help, he can come with her. Only, no one warned her she’d have to venture to places better left unexplored. A good thing, then, that the new Earl of Somer is a noted explorer. When the two of them join forces, what could possibly go wrong?

 

A short Steampunk novella

 

icarus plot banner

The Billionaire's Passion Review and Overall Review of Bundle

Harlequin Presents March 2013 - Bundle 1 of 2: Playing the Dutiful WifeExpecting His Love-ChildA Reputation for RevengeThe Greek Billionaire's Baby RevengeCaptive in the SpotlightBlackmailed Bride, Innocent Wife - Carol Marinelli, Jennie Lucas, Annie West, Robyn Donald

The final book in this bundle was Robyn Donald's The Billionaire's Passion.  It was one of the better books in the bundle and I would give it 3.5 stars as a stand alone HP.  Unfortunately it is not sold separately anywhere and is only available as part of this bundle or as part of a duo along with her Island of Secrets which is weird and not very romantic.  The leads in Billionaire's Passion have that love/hate thing going on and it comes off as pretty intense.  There's also an intriguing mystery in the book and as well as a scheming other woman.  It's good but not great.

 

The lesson of the bundle overall is:  quantity does not equal quality.  There are 8 books in this bundle.  Maybe 3 out of 8 were reasonably good for HPs.  On the other hand, only one (Captive in the Spotlight) is horrifically bad.  I can't say I recommend the bundle.  It's around 1500 pages of mediocrity.  I've read several other bundles and they've always been more enjoyable than this one, but they've also all been regular 4 book bundles.  I think from now on I'll take the doubling up as a warning.

Island of Secrets Review

Island of Secrets: The Billionaire's Passion (Harlequin Presents) - Robyn Donald

This was not as bad as I expected.  It did turn out to be a bit strange, especially in its final third.  The problem with it isn't that the hero is unredeemable or that the story made my blood boil in some way.  It's just not really a romance.  There was a lot of interesting information about Polynesian history, small business management, artisanal beauty products, etc.  I actually enjoyed all that more than I enjoyed the little bit of romance that was thrown in.  I can certainly understand why romance readers were disappointed with it. 

 

This is a sad bundle, especially considering it contains 4 bonus stories.  You would think at least one of them would be really good.  I have one more book to read in the bundle and it's another by Robyn Donald.  I don't have very high hopes for it. 

 

On a happier subject, Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it.  Happy Thursday to us all. :)

Reading progress update: I've read 0%.

Island of Secrets: The Billionaire's Passion (Harlequin Presents) - Robyn Donald

The 2 two-star and 1 one-star reviews on Amazon don't bode well.  I suspect I'll dnf this one.  I'm slogging my way through part 1 of the March, 2013 HP bundle and so far I'd give the whole thing 2.75 stars at best.  None of the books have been worthy of individual reviews, except perhaps the one I read immediately prior to this, which was truly awful.

Shut Up and Kiss Me Review

Shut Up and Kiss Me - Christie Craig

This funny romantic suspense novel set in small town Texas seems to be either a big hit or a big miss with reviewers. It was a big hit with me. I thought the balance between humor, romance and suspense was excellent. I loved Ms. Craig’s version of “quirky” characters. I have an intense dislike for the sloppily written, cliched and caricatured type of “quirky” character that is a staple of both southern romance and southern cozy mysteries. But these quirky characters come off as genuine individuals and I think that for the most part Ms. Craig put a lot of thought and care into developing both the main and secondary characters.

 

I found much of this book hilariously funny and some of it very touching as well. I enjoyed the lead characters’ path to their HEA. I do agree with some reviewers that the number of secondary characters and the attention paid to them does take away from the main relationship. But I think that is a trade off for the secondary characters being well developed and the suspense plot having as much of a share of the book as the romance. There is one character who came off as strong sequel-bait but I do not see a second book with him in it in any lists of Ms. Craig’s books. I hope she does write it someday.

Overall I thought this was a fun, lightweight read with a lot of heart and great characters.

The Teacher's Billionaire

The Teacher's Billionaire - Christina Tetreault

Better than I expected.  The writing is quite good and I found the heroine both likeable and relateable.  She does do a bit of running away but in this case I felt she had good reason.  The two big flaws:  Not enough grovel.  In fact, barely any grovel at all.  And I never felt like I got to know the hero very well, even though part of the book was from his point of view.

 

I found the sequel-bait half-brother intriguing and very likeable.  I think I preferred him to the hero, so I'll probably go looking for book 2 in this series.

 

 

 

(Sorry - accidentally hit enter before I'd even started.)

The Marriage Bargain Review

Playing with Fire - Verbotene Gef├╝hle (German Edition) - Jennifer Probst, Ulrike Thiesmeyer

The last third of this book is pretty good. The first two thirds is a hellish morass of will they/won't they. If that proportion had been reversed and a lot less emphasis placed on sexual tension and more on the emotional tension (which is quite well written) my rating would be flipped as well. Instead, I came close to DNFing at least 3 times and leave the book annoyed.