Tricky Twenty-Two

Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22)Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stephanie Plum
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Category: Comedy, Mystery, Romance
Setting: New Jersey
Author Website: http://www.evanovich.com/

About series:
Stephanie Plum is just an average girl who grew up in a tight knit neighborhood in New Jersey where families usually consist of a mixture of cops and mobsters. Stephanie falls on some hard financial times and the only job she can get is at her Cousin Vinnie’s Bond office as a bounty hunter. The majority of Stephanie’s cases involve skip traces, which is just picking up people who missed their court date. But in every book, Stephanie manages to cross paths with a murder and suddenly she is knee deep in serious bounty hunting. Luckily Stephanie has a long list of friends that always turn up to help her out in a pinch and the bad guys never win.

About this book:

Tricky Twenty-Two delivers a classic Stephanie Plum story complete with her usual gang of friends and some crazy skip traces. What is unique about this book is that Stephanie has her job under control and no longer fumbles around wondering what to do. However, knowing what to do and being able to complete that task are two different things. These challenges that Stephanie faces in her job somehow makes the challenges that we face at work manageable. Let’s face it, if Stephanie can be successful as a bounty hunter then _____ (fill in the blank) is easy.
Twenty-Two’s subplot deals with the love triangle between Ranger, the hot loner bounty hunter, and Morelli, the hunky policeman and sometimes boyfriend of Stephanie’s. If you are on Team Ranger, this book is for you. We get 17 different “Babe’s” from Ranger and everyone of them are hot and sexy yet each also conveys something unique to Stephanie. Don’t worry Team Morelli, Joe is still hot and hunky.
Twenty-Two books in and I’m still in love with Stephanie Plum. She is evolving as a character and yet keeps all the good parts that we love. Like not having bullets in her gun. Or her documented history with car trouble. Also, there’s a bonus: chapter one of Turbo Twenty-Three is at the end of the book, and ordinarily I’d be caught in a conflict about whether or not I should read it. My dilemma was, it’s one more chapter I’m going to love reading but on the other hand, I would have had to wait until the book was released to read the rest of it. But this time both Turbo Twenty-Three and Hardcore Twenty-Four are already released! I’m going to marathon read Stephanie Plum this weekend to catch up on the series. How about you?

Learn more about the Stephanie Plum series (in order written):

  • One for the Money
  • Two for the Dough
  • Three to Get Deadly
  • Four to Score
  • High Five
  • Hot Six
  • Seven Up
  • Hard Eight
  • Visions of Sugar Plums (between-the-numbers holiday novella)
  • To the Nines
  • Ten Big Ones
  • Eleven on Top
  • Twelve Sharp
  • Plum Lovin’ (between-the-numbers holiday novella)
  • Lean Mean Thirteen
  • Plum Lucky (between-the-numbers holiday novella)
  • Fearless Fourteen
  • Plum Spooky (between-the-numbers novel)
  • Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
  • Sizzling Sixteen
  • Smokin’ Seventeen
  • Explosive Eighteen
  • Notorious Nineteen
  • Takedown Twenty
  • Top Secret Twenty-One
  • Tricky Twenty-Two
  • Turbo Twenty-Three
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four

 

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To The Duke, With Love

To the Duke, with Love (The Rakes of St. James, #2)To the Duke, with Love by Amelia Grey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Release Date: Dec 5, 2017
Categories: Romance
Setting: London
Author Website: http://www.ameliagrey.com/

About this series:

Three sons of dukes decide to commit a prank on Polite Society and get labelled the Rakes of St. James. But sometimes bad boys grow up to be honorable men.

About this book:

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn (Hawk) has found the perfect husband for his sister. Except the groom-to-be has a sister who doesn’t believe in arranged marriages. In fact, Loretta Quick has taken a vow to never marry.

The passion between Hawk and Loretta ignites immediately. There is a great secondary storyline that truly flushes out the story and keeps things moving forward in an entertaining way. While the first book in the series, “Last Night with the Duke” was humorous and cute it took on some serious topics like forced arranged marriages for women and the exploitation of children during the Regency period. Yet this second book in the series manages to be delightfully lighthearted at the right times and seriously passionate whenever the hero and heroine met.

Grey is hitting her stride with the Rakes of St. James series. Her characters – both primary and secondary – are likeable and grow personally throughout the story. In fact, I sat down to read a chapter or two on a Saturday morning and more than half a book later the sun was going down. You know a book is good when you lose track of time and read the day away. I love when that happens.

I have high hopes for the third book in this trilogy as Grey has written two winners so far. Not to put any pressure on Grey, but it’s going to be tough to beat the first two, so please don’t miss out on this truly entertaining series.

Learn about other books in this series:

I received a free copy but voluntarily reviewed.

View all my reviews

Last Night With The Duke

Last Night with the Duke (The Rakes of St. James, #1)Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Rakes of St. James Series (3 books)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Categories: Romance
Setting: London
Author Website: http://www.ameliagrey.com/

About this series:
Three sons of dukes decide to commit a prank on Polite Society and get labelled the Rakes of St. James. But sometimes bad boys grow up to be honorable men.

About this book:

The Duke of Griffin has a problem. He has been labeled a rake by society but now his younger twin sisters are about to enter their first Season. How does he keep young rakes away from his sisters?

Esmeralda Swift is trying to live an honorable life despite the scandal – her mother fell in love with and married an impoverished poet – that ostracized her from the society. Esmeralda and her younger sister live above the employment agency that Esmeralda runs. That is until the Duke makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

I loved this book. Grey hit all the touchpoints. I laughed out loud. I cried. I felt true love between the hero and heroine. I was concerned in the first two chapters as there seemed to be repetitive telling, not showing. By chapter three Grey hit her stride and never looked back. I can’t wait to read book two due out in December 2017.

This series feels like a home run for Grey. I’ll be reviewing book two next, as my review copy arrived last week and I put it right at the top of my to be read pile.

Learn about other books in this series:

– To the Duke, with Love (Book #2)
– It’s All About the Duke (Book #3)

I received a free copy but voluntarily reviewed.

The Mapmaker’s Children

The Mapmaker's ChildrenThe Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publisher: Broadway Books
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Category: Historical Fiction
Setting: West Virginia
Author Website: http://www.sarahmccoy.com/

About this book:

I’m not sure how but this book got lost in my To Be Read (TBR) pile after winning a Goodreads (GR) giveaway. I have usually put GR books at the top of my pile as they are books that I have sought out for my personal reading. Whatever the reason, I thank my book fairy (usually my husband) for finding this misplaced gem.
The Mapmaker’s Children hit all the right notes for me. I hereby name it my favorite book I have read this year (and the last few years, too.) I laughed out loud in all the right places, smiled to myself when it was sweet, and cried more than once with emotions a little too large to even attempt to hold in.

Split between Civil War era and present day, readers are ushered into the world of two women trying to find themselves in a world that seems crazy at times. While society may seem to demand they each follow a predetermined path, both Sarah in 1860’s and Eden in 2014 have to learn to forge their own way. I hope that I can say they same when I look back in my golden years.

What made me love this book is that both women were real; with flaws and ambitions that both helped and hindered them. Their lives were not free of tragedy nor were they lacking joy.

I could probably use this very generic review on a dozen different books but I find myself tight lipped with details. If I explain some of the story, I fear I will rob you of its joy of reading. A sin I never wish to commit. I will keep it brief but strong in my recommendation this is a book I could read twice and walk away with different insights into my own life. If you’ve put it aside for later, dig this out of your TBR pile. You won’t be disappointed. I was truly delighted and couldn’t put it down. Enjoy!

I received a free copy but voluntarily reviewed.

The Twentieth Wife

The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #1)The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love books that transport me back in time. Add in an exotic foreign land and I’m hooked. The Twentieth Wife (The Taj Mahal Trilogy, Book One) enchanted me from the first page. This book is an interesting education about the power of love.

Women still have a long way to go yet to achieving full equality with men. However, it would be too easy to look at The Twentieth Wife as only an example of our historic inequality. I hope perceptive readers will see that there is so much more in this history of how one woman loved one man.

For example, it also shows us that there is more than one way to achieve power. Even in the 16th century a few women played a critical role in foreign-policy, world economics, and how to run a country. They should be remembered as our heroes. For it is with their history that we learned that women have always been strong enough to achieve their goals. Certainly, history will remember Mehrunnisa for her beauty. However, Indu Sundaresan has shown us that this classically graceful woman was strong in her values, her love for one man, and her ambitions.

I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in this trilogy as Sundaresan is an amazing storyteller. She brings historical figures alive as well as their culture. While my circumstances prevent me from traveling to India, Sundaresan successfully transported me there and gave me a look into the country’s history unlike any other tour guide could.

The other Taj Mahal Trilogy books are:
– The Feast of Roses, Book Two
– Shadow Princess, Book Three

Lake of Destiny

Lake of Destiny (Celtic Legends, #1)Lake of Destiny by Martina Boone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Mayfair Publishing
Series: Celtic Legends, Book #1
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Category: Romance, Highlands
Author Website: http://www.martinaboone.com/

This first book in Martina Boone’s new Celtic Legends series doesn’t disappoint with cute Highland men wearing kilts, overly friendly dogs making mischief, and two singles so caught up in the organization of a traditional Highland festival that they can’t seem to find time to fall in love.

Yet we know going into this sweet romance from Mayfair Publishing that there will be love by the end of the book. It’s not the destination that we’re concerned with here but rather the journey from being lonely to being in love.

What helps the story is that you immediately like Anna, the heroine. And who can’t fall instantly in love with a devastatingly handsome former blockbuster movie star now widower who puts the care and comfort of his only daughter above his own needs. It seems like an instant match to me.

However, what throws off the story for me is the convoluted backstories of both our heroine and hero. There are repeated tellings – and I mean *repeated* – of Anna’s story. We can piece together what has driven Anna to the Highlands: (1) a strained relationship between Anna and her mother, because of Anna’s participation in childhood beauty pageants; (2) Anna’s strained relationship with her sister, Katherine, who took something of Anna’s (3) Anna’s human error at her former law firm that caused her to leave D.C. We understand what molded Anna into the person she is at the beginning and end of her story. She grows during this story. I LOVE when a heroine grows during the story. We have a climax and resolution for her first backstory; which I think is why I liked Anna so much. I understood her growth during the story. But resolution for the other two are rather half hearted and really felt like they could be cut out If they aren’t worth a proper resolution.

I feel the same about Connal’s backstory. While we hear repeated pieces of his background story I get lost in the different versions of Connal as he keeps reinventing himself to present to the outside world. Each with it’s own name. I never feel like I really connected to who Connal is on the inside. I don’t believe his background story was told with the same conviction with which Anna’s story was told. Therefore I felt like we missed something when the ending came and it was a happily ever after for Connal but I still had open wounds for him that hadn’t yet healed.

That being said, this is truly a sweet romance that I had the pleasure to read. Boone has a wonderful turn of a phrase and has mastered the art of description. I shall never be able travel to the Highlands myself, but I do believe that for a few hours Boone had transported me there. I will remember the experience fondly in my dreams. Clearly Boone has mastered storytelling, so I’m writing off any missing holes in Connal’s story as the price we pay in today’s cutthroat publishing world with an eye on page count and costs. Given an unlimited canvas to write on I’m convinced Boone would have presented us with a masterful backstory and growth for Connal. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and continue my relation with the inhabitants of Boone’s Highland.

I received a free copy but voluntarily reviewed.

Other books in this series:
Bell of Eternity (Book #2)

A Belated Bride

A Belated Bride (Rogues, #2)A Belated Bride by Karen Hawkins
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series:  Rogues
Book: 2 of 3
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 9, 2001
Category: Romance/Historical
Setting: England
Author Website: http://karenhawkins.com/
Author Twitter: TheKarenHawkins   

About this series:
This Regency trilogy focuses meetings of abduction and seduction. It has strong confident men and sassy opinionated women.

About this book:
The second book in this series, A Belated Bride, has passion from the opening scene to the last. An innocent, country girl, Arabella Hadley, fell in love with Lucien Devereaux, heir to the Duke of Wexford. And then Lucien abandoned her for London.

A lot has happened since Arabella had her heart broken. She is now a strong and confident women who manages Rosemont, her family’s country estate and home to her two scheming aunts and her war crippled brother, Robert. Equally, Lucien has grown into a man worthy of his title and responsibilities. So when Arabella finds Lucien unconscious on a country road in the middle of the night near Rosemont, both are torn between their instant desire that still flames hot as a burning coal and their curiosity as to why the other is out on this dark night.

Hawkins does an amazing job of mixing humor (usually via Arabella’s two aunts, Jane and Emma) with a passionate romance and an interesting mystery. Arabella and Lucien’s romance is a classic damsel in distress story with a twist as Arabella proves to be as intelligent as she is beautiful. The mysteries at Rosemont includes a fiesta pirate ancestor and smugglers.

I started this series with this book and I enjoyed it enough to seek out the remaining two books. If you are looking for a humorous and passionate romance A Belated Bride will satisfy your romance reading itch. But don’t be surprised if it sparks a desire to read the rest of this series and more from Karen Hawkins’s.

Disclaimer:  I won this book as part of an author contest.

Learn about other books in this series: