Monday, July 11, 2016

MINI-REVIEWS: Nalini Singh, Heidi Cullinan, Jennifer McQuiston, Mary Balogh, Roan Parrish

Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter, #5)
Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5) by Nalini Singh
Urban Fantasy
Berkley -- September 4, 2012

With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.
Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.
With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.
Jason's story worked great for his character.  It is mysterious, slow-burning, but super powerful once it gets going.  I loved the way that the author slowly revealed his secrets and how passionate he really was behind the shadows.  Mahiya was a fascinating heroine who took an unorthodox approach to surviving in her aunt's court and showed that you don't have to be constantly kicking ass to be strong.  These are two damaged people who definitely deserved their happy ending even if it took a lot of work to get there.  The series storyline moved forward with Lijuan's evolution becoming more evident and the archangels' politics seem to be getting more complicated.  I'm excited to see what Nalini does with this series next.


Short Stay (Love Lessons, #3.5)
Short Stay (Love Lessons #3.5) by Heidi Cullinan
M/M Romance -- Contemporary
Self-Published -- May 24, 2016

Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays?
When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his—and Elijah’s—life.
With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas—it will follow them all the way down the aisle.
I adored Baz and Elijah in Lonely Hearts so, of course, I was pumped when I saw that Heidi Cullinan revisited them in a fun, Vegas-set novella.  What I enjoyed the most about this book was the relationship between Baz and Elijah.  They both have their issues, but clearly work the best together.  I liked the fact that the author emphasized that they constantly will have to work at their happy ending and this book showed why they will continue to do so.  I also was excited to see more of Walter and Kelly from Love Lessons who continue to be just adorable.  I have not read any of Cullinan's Special Delivery series, but the cameos from those books in this story have made me very interested.


In the Middle of Somewhere (Middle of Somewhere, #1)
In the Middle of Somewhere (Middle of Somewhere #1) by Roan Parrish
M/M Romance -- Contemporary
Dreamspinner Press -- July 10, 2015

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
I definitely have a weakness for reclusive characters so, when I saw a Goodreads review for this recluse meets snarky professor romance, I knew I had to read it.  I loved the way that the author developed both main characters especially Daniel.  His upbringing caused him to go through life with a chip on his shoulder, but his experiences in Holiday (especially his relationship with Rex) really helped improve his self-esteem and outlook.  Rex was just super sweet and I wanted to hug him so many times.  I did have a fear that he was too perfect, but thankfully the author did provide a few flaws to balance out his awesomeness.  The only thing that left me wanting was that the entire book was told from Daniel's point of view.  I would love to have gotten inside Rex's head if only for an epilogue.


The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior (Seduction Diaries, #2)
The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior (Seduction Diaries #2) by Jennifer McQuiston
Historical Romance
Avon -- November 24, 2015

Free-spirited Lucy Westmore isn't yet a spinster, although she fully intends to be. Fortunately, an eccentric aunt has left her both a diary detailing the secrets to spinsterhood and a cottage in Cornwall. Unfortunately, an insufferable marquess is angling for her prize! Turning Lord Thomas Branston down flat should be easy. So why does this man who won't take no for an answer make Lucy's body and soul sigh yes?
Thomas knows the real value of Heathmore Cottage, and he has no intention of letting some silly Society miss get her hands on it. He'll simply have to charm Lucy into selling. But the clever young woman he encounters, first in London, then en route to Cornwall, stands stubbornly on her own two (quite lovely) feet. And now, Thomas can think only of sweeping her off them.
I thought this book was lighthearted and charming, but a bit of a disappointment.  I fell in love with Lucy in The Diary of an Accidental Wallflower and was very excited to see what kind of shenanigans she would get into in her own book.  And she did get into some scraps, but I actually found her character to be much more annoying.  I appreciated her dedication to her aunt's memory yet she made mistakes that would have been easily solved if she had just thought before she acted a few times.  I found the hero, Thomas, to be very likable and I felt for him as he tried to get Lucy to understand how important Heathmore Cottage could be.  The romance was decent and easy to root for.  I just wish that Lucy hadn't been so irritating to me.


The Suitor (The Survivors' Club, #1.5)

The Suitor (The Survivors' Club #1.5) by Mary Balogh
Historical Romance
Dell -- July 22, 2013


If circumstances were different, Philippa Dean would be happy to fall in love with Viscount Darleigh. He is certainly the perfect gentleman and everything her parents want: titled, handsome, respectable. His blindness only reinforces his quiet power and strength. But Philippa does not love him. Her heart is already taken and there is only one thing she can do: Thwart the matchmaking plans.
Julian Crabbe is desperate to rescue the woman he fell in love with two years ago. Then, he was a reckless cub, justly earning Philippa’s parents’ scorn. Now, he is every inch a respectable suitor and determined to prove it before it is too late. Intrude on the viscount’s house party? Gladly. Interrupt the match of the season? Happily. For nothing can stop the power of a love that will not be denied.
This was a short, but very sweet romance between two people who were finally able to get their happy ending together. Julian and Philippa fell in love with one another two years earlier, but his reputation and her parents' protectiveness prevented them from marrying. But, after taking the time to get his life in order, Julian heads off to win Philippa even though her parents want her to marry the blind, but gentlemanly Viscount Darleigh. The length of this romance didn't bother me much because of the fact that the hero and heroine had previously met and fallen in love. This story mostly focused on insuring they were still right for one another and figuring out how to get her parent's approval. It was soft and charming. A fun little interlude to a great series.

1 comment:

  1. oh great review on Singh's book...I am just loving this series so far. She has done such a perfect job with it. I love seeing a couple overcome some battles before they get their HEA. Great group of reviews here. I want to read McQuiston's book, but definitely going to wait on the library for that one.


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