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Under the Final Moon (Underworld Detection Agency, Bk 6)
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Spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers.

Little plot, relatively no character development. Every 30 pages it was a repeat of "Why did my daddy leave me? I only wanted to be a good daughter." Because he's the devil, that's why. Geez


Deception Cove (Neah Bay, Bk 1)
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slow and dull--not for me


Circus World
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One of my favoirte genres is fantasy and I find a read like this delightful. To backtrack in time, the reader discovers that approximately two hundred years ago, a traveling circus ship crashes. Not unusual, I know, but this one was traveling from planet to planet in a world much different from our own. With their ship damaged beyond repair, the people are stranded on the planet Momus and must build a new life. But life dramatically changes when a stranger arrives.

With this stranger's appearance life on Momus begins to change. There is a war brewing that may soon involve the people of Momus. They are about the be invaded but another force seeks to prevent the invasion but interactions between this isolated society and that force may destroy much of what is good about their life. The stranger is slowing accepted by the population while his views seem absurd to those who wish to use the planet as a base. He is removed from his role and becomes the voice of the people of Momus. This is an engaging and funny tale that lightens the heart and mind. And, if you know little about circus life this story will help you know much more.


The Trick: A Novel
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This book! Bergmann writes with a sure and study voice; it is difficult to believe that this is only a translation. Each character is well-fleshed and needed to further the story. The story is full during both time periods. Even if I didn't think I wanted to read still one more book based during WW2, I am glad that I read it for the story, the characters and moments of magic showing that singular choices serve a purpose.


Unsaid
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Some books are so difficult to put aside. This was one. The empathy and emotion with which the author writes is rare. Beautiful, tender, and heart rending. AsI became acquainted with the characters I found that their tender hearts determined and guided their actions with both positive and negative results/

The narrator is a woman who died. She observes the lives of her grieving lawyer husband, her friends and acqaintances. A veteranian whose compassionate practice endeared her to those who brought their furry friends to her office, she provided the stability and tenderness her husband needed. There is an autistic child and his divorced mother, a veteranian who contemplates closing his practice, and a lawyer whose key concern is the firm he drives toward always toward making money.

I find it difficult to discuss how I genuinely felt about this book. Returning to passage after passage, I found so much heartache. Fortunately, in this novel many can heal, each in their own way. It's a wonderful, wonderful read and while I keep few books this one may remain on my shelf for a long time after, of course, I share it with those I think will understand the story and reflect on its messages.


All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 16)
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16th book of the CI Gamache series. Location is Paris France and daughter Annie and Jean-Guy's second baby is about to arrive. Three Pines is missed but I loved all the backstory information this book provided. We learned more about Daniel and his father's strained relationship. The main story centers around Gamache's godfather, Stephen Horowitz, who helped raise him as a child. It's a real family affair as we find answers to why Stephen was a victim of a hit and run. I loved that Reine-Marie, Gamache's wife, had a hand in helping to solve the mystery.

As always I enjoyed Penny's writing. I received a free audio from MacMillian Publishers and NetGalley for an honest review. I also enjoyed the narrator, Robert Bathurst, very much. He had a soothing voice and did an excellent job narrating the female characters too. In the end, the whole family returns to Three Pines and I now await the next book in order to see how their story continues. In order to get the best enjoyment from this series, it's best to start with book 1, Still Life, but book can be read as a standalone too. Highly recommended.


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This is book 4 in this series Holmes and Moriarity , this is the first I have read it stands well on it's own and I really enjoyed the two characters. Though I do have moments of wishing they wouldn't take such risks with murderers. Love this author books.


The Summer House in Santorini
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Loved the book. Very nice story!


When the Moon Was Ours
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This book is too repetitively descriptive. If i have to read any more about how something was so Color A, it was almost Color B, i will die of boredom. I do feel it would have made an excellent graphic novel. The theme of gender identity was well done and the ending wasn't bad.


Waterlily
Waterlily
Author: Ella Cara Deloria
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 1215 more book reviews


This is one of those books for which the background as important as the work itself. Author Ella Cara Deloria was born in 1889 on the Yankton Reservation and lived as a child on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota, where her father was a deacon of the Protestant Episcopalian church. Educated at Columbia University, Deloria did her most important work as a research specialist in American Indian ethnology and linguistics. Her position as a member of a prominent family, their political awareness and valuation of scholarship (her brother, Vine Deloria Jr. wrote âCuster Died for Your Sins' and was prominent in the American Indian Movement of the late 1960s), the fact that she was among a dwindling number of native speakers in the first quarter of the 20th century, and the happy accident that her professional lifespan overlapped with the last of the Sioux who had lived in a culture largely untouched by white men, placed her in a truly unique position.

Drawing on all aspects of that background, Deloria produced âWaterlily', a novel which chronicles the life of a Dakota Sioux woman, born probably around 1840 and coming to womanhood as the first tentacles of white culture began to invade the traditional lifestyle of the tribes. Don't look for thrilling warpath tales here, however â âWaterlily' keeps its focus strictly on the day-to-day life of a woman within this society, with particular emphasis on the relationship web that directed many of her interactions with others.

âWaterlily' is truly a unique work, but it is not without flaws, at least to the 21st century reader. Deloria writes adequately, but in a totally pedestrian manner. The characters are well-developed, and the everyday events she describes are a fascinating and informative look at a way of life which has long since vanished. But there is little in it to involve the emotions, even when the characters are faced with life-altering events.

It's definitely worth a read, but don't plan to shelve it in the âmasterpieceâ section.


Taking Command: General J. Lawton Collins From Guadalcanal to Utah Beach and Victory in Europe
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I've been wanting to read this book and finally did. General Lawton Collins was once described as the "best American corps commander" in Europe during World War II, but was relatively unknown to most Americans, compared to other generals. What also made him interesting was he first commanded a U.S. Army division on Guadalcanal in the Pacific before becoming a corps commander in Europe. Collins went on to a succession of important positions after World War II, including a tour as the U.S. Army Chief of Staff after Omar Bradley and personal ambassador for President Eisenhower.

The book's author is Paul Jeffers, who wrote a number of books on World War II. Jeffers writes well and his books are easy reads, but his research---and often his writing---is sometimes sloppy. Especially when writing about events outside his main subject.

For example, on page 40 he discusses the Japanese Army planning to invade Australia and New Zealand. Not true. The Japanese generals knew they didn't have the forces to invade another continent, and were more interested in the war in China. They did want to neutralize those two counties, but had no plans to invade them.

On page 54, Jeffers mentions the "Fourth Marine Raider Division." I hope this is simply a typo, as the Marine Raiders never had units higher than battalions. Jeffers makes a lot of mistakes like this in his other books too. This is poor editing on his part, as well as his publisher. For example, on page 59 he has General Eisenhower choosing General Omar Bradley to be the field commander for the invasion of France. Actually, Ike chose British General Montgomery for this position. Perhaps Jeffers meant Ike chose Bradley to be the American field commander. But it isn't what Jeffers wrote, and it misleads readers who don't know this. And later in the book, Jeffers has the Germans blowing up bridges across the Rhine as "the Americans retreated" in 1945. Huh? Who missed this error?

On page 103, Jeffers obviously uses Montgomery's memoirs to show Montgomery meant to hold the German panzer divisions outside Caen, and that the "...capture of the city was only incidental to his mission." The capture of Caen was a D-Day objective, but the British didn't capture it for weeks, and took heavy casualties trying. Montgomery later said he planned to hold the panzers there, when he was just covering up for his failure to do so. It's also why he waited until after Eisenhower died to publish his memoirs so Ike couldn't call it was it was... a lie. In fact, on the very next page---page 104---Jeffers writes Montgomery planned to capture Caen on D-Day, but only took it 36 days later. Obviously, Jeffers isn't reviewing his own work.

On page 115, Jeffers states the Allies captured a German coding machine in 1940. The truth is Polish mathematicians had reversed-engineered the German Enigma coding machine before World War II even started in September 1939. The Poles, when their armies were defeated, shipped the machine and the mathematicians out of their country to France, and later to Britain. Most people don't know this, as the British were happy to take the credit for it. This was also part of the decision not to give the Poles credit for helping to win the war in this and other ways, so as to not anger Stalin after World War II. In this American President Roosevelt was also culpable, to our discredit.

Finally, on page 157, Jeffers refers to American General McAuliffe---deputy commander of the 101st Airborne disivion---as the garrison commander for Bastogne in such as way as to lead readers to believe the 101st was there for some time before the Battle of the Bulge began. When the 101st didn't head for Bastogne until after the Germans attacked on December 16, 1944. This is just sloppy writing.

Still, I gave the book 3.5 stars. as Jeffers did a good job when writing about Lawton Collins. Or maybe I just don't know enough about Collins to catch any errors Jeffers made.


The Pout-Pout Fish
The Pout-Pout Fish
Author: Deborah Diesen
Genre: Children's Books
Book Type: Paperback
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Undoubtably the cutest book, I've read to my grandchildren. I can't believe that anyone found it offensive. It's not for school aged kids but little kids that will love the bright pics and rhyming sing songy story. I doubt the 1 year olds that are being read to are going to remember this and just pop up and kiss a stranger or think that everyone should smile and never have a down day. Get a grip people and give your little kids a chance to laugh when you go "blub, blub, blup " and give a more age appropriate book to your kids that might be inclined to kiss a stranger! Geeze!


Master & Apprentice (Star Wars)
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Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi have been my favorite master/padawan pair since the prequels were released. I devoured the Master Apprentice series and this book is just an extension of that. In this novel we got to know their relationship a bit more intimately. It was fascinating that Qui-Gon was offered a position on the council as well as the fact that he believed he was failing Obi-Wan as a master. Seeing them go through turmoil once more was unexpected, but I suppose that was their relationship from the beginning to the very end. They clearly loved and respected one another, but they also butted heads frequently. Perhaps their love for one another was the reason they were in opposition so often.

This story was well done because it didn't lose anything from the Master Apprentice series and even though I knew the outcome would be Qui-Gon declining his invitation to join the council, which woulingd have meant hand Obi-Wan over to a new master, I still had no idea how it would all transpire. They were both disenchanted with one another throughout, but it was because they both cared. Qui-Gon saw his failings as a master and pondered whether or not he even deserved to be Obi's master. Obi-Wan felt his inadequacies as a padawan was the reason he learned about Qui-Gon's invitation from an outside source, rather than from his master. I think he believed that Qui-Gon was disappointed in him as an apprentice. Oh, and in the midst of all of this angst, there were flashbacks from Qui-Gon's time as Dooku's apprentice, and an entire plot of betrayal and murder involving a "backwater" planet's monarchy and their ascent into "modern" within the republic.

A very good addition the the JA canon and Jeff Davis did very well with the narration. He captured each characters voice and emotion in a believable way. Fun listen.


Moral Compass
Moral Compass
Author: Danielle Steel
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance
Book Type: Hardcover
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First let me say, I've read Danielle Steel books since the mid 70's and loved them. Very few left me disappointed. However, that was not the case with MORAL COMPASS. This book had so much potential. It was timely and could have been great but it fell boringly short. The characters were flat and the story was dull. There was no build up, no suspense, no feelings at all.
The facts were pretty much done as an info dump in the first three chapters and it only got worse as it went on. I never empathised with any of the characters at any point in the story. They were dull as cardboard cutouts. If this book had been written by anyone other than Steel, I'd have quit by page 50 but I did read the whole thing as I kept expecting it to take off and actually entertain me. Possibly, if this had been a mystery type of book, it would have been better but it read basically as going from point A to B to C and not only did you not care about point A, B or C , you didn't care about the journey. I don't think I've ever been so relieved to get to the end of a story. I'm not sure that this story actually deserved two stars instead of one, but out of sentimentality for DS, I gave it two.


Farewell My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, Bk 2)
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Another great noir crime novel from Chandler. I finished reading THE BIG SLEEP, the first Philip Marlowe novel a few days ago and followed it up with this one which I found to be just as good or better! In this one, Marlowe gets drawn into a very convoluted case when he happens to see a very large man outside of an African-American establishment in Los Angeles: I stood outside the barbershop looking up at the jutting neon sign of a second floor dine and dice emporium called Florian's. A man was looking up at the sign too. He was looking up at the dusty windows with a sort of ecstatic fixity of expression, like a hunky immigrant catching his first sight of the Statue of Liberty. He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. The man called "Moose" Malloy ends up dragging Marlowe into the joint and tells him he is looking for Velma, his girlfriend who worked there 8 years previously before he was put away. The owner of the place is uncooperative and ends up dead. Marlowe decides to followup and look for Velma who may be able to lead him to Moose. And then Marlowe gets embroiled in a jewel theft involving a wealthy woman married to a very wealthy man. Along the way, he gets "sapped" a few times with a blackjack, gets involved with a psychic whose business card is used as a filter for "marihuana" cigarettes, he gets drugged and held captive by an unorthodox doctor, and eventually is able to tie all the pieces together!

An early paperback edition of this novel shows Marlowe hitting a man in the cheek with a coiled bed-spring. This was the very unusual way he was able to escape from the bogus medical clinic and I thought it also made a very interesting and unusual book cover

Again, I enjoyed this one immensely. Chandler's witty dialogue along with his detailed descriptions make these novels a pleasure to read. I'll be looking forward to reading more.


Tahoe Hit (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller)
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August just isn't August without a new Owen McKenna thriller, and Tahoe Hit, the eighteenth addition to this marvelous series, was just what I needed. I'm addicted to Todd Borg's intricate, fast-paced mysteries every bit as much as I'm addicted to the beautiful setting of Lake Tahoe and to his marvelous characters.

In Tahoe Hit, millionaire Carston Kraytower really kept me off-balance; I never knew which way that man was going to jump. When you've got a character like that, solving the mystery gives your little grey cells a workout. Even when McKenna starts uncovering secret after secret, it still took me some time to figure everything out-- and I still missed some of the twists. I like that.

But this book (and this series) isn't just about the mystery. It has one of my all-time favorite casts of characters in crime fiction. Being an ex-cop, Owen McKenna has gone out of his way to forge good relationships with police officers in the Lake Tahoe area, and those relationships lead to much of the humor in the books. McKenna is also very observant whether it be man or beast that is the focus of his attention. He takes the time to discover how gifted young Joshua Kraytower is, and he's willing to do something about it. He also is highly observant when it comes to his sidekick, his harlequin Great Dane, Spot. McKenna knows his dog, what his dog's reactions will be, what his dog's capabilities are. When Spot can help him with an investigation, he does. But if there's a strong possibility that Spot will be in danger, you can take it to the bank that he won't be tagging along. Another plus in McKenna's favor? His relationship with entomologist Street Casey. She's brilliant, she's unconventional, and she's still dealing with trauma from her past. Many other men wouldn't, but Owen accepts their relationship on her terms. Owen, Spot, Street, and the rest of the regular cast make this series something very special.

But wait-- there's more! A fantastic Lake Tahoe setting? Check. A mystery that keeps you guessing? Check. A multi-faceted cast of characters that becomes just like family? Check. What else is there? It's the added extras that Todd Borg weaves into his narrative. Learning about a small town settled by Chinese immigrants who were brought over to build the railroad. Indian residential schools. The naturalist Aldo Leopold who believed we should leave blank spots on the map. Even a little philosophy that leads to the question "Is the life of a really bad man automatically more important than the life of a really good dog?"

Tahoe Hit-- and this entire series-- is the perfect blend of mystery, action, setting, and characterization. Tahoe Hit stands alone well, if you're worried about taking on a series with eighteen books, and I urge all of you to give it a try. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for more. Owen and Spot are impossible to resist!


Candy Slain Murder (A Country Store Mystery)
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Candy Slain Murder is the eighth installment in the A Country Store Mysteries series set in South Lick, Indiana and featuring Robbie Jordan, cook and owner of Pans 'n Pancakes. It's Christmas time in South Lick and Robbie is looking forward to spending the holidays with her boyfriend Abe and his son, Sean.

A devastating house fire at the home of anesthesiologist, Dr. William Geller reveals the shocking discovery of skeletal remains in his attic. Geller's wife Kristina had left him over a decade ago, or so he claimed, but within days the bones are identified as hers. Just days after the grisly discovery, Tina's twin Toni is also murdered and Robbie is determined to find out if the two deaths are connected.

A young stranger finds his way into the shop and identifies himself as Danna Beedle's long lost brother. It seems that Danna's mother, Mayor Corrine Beedle gave up a child for adoption in her early years. Robbie's not sure that the man's claim is on the up and up so she wants to do a little digging into his background before somebody gets hurt.

A quick moving plot with the return of series regulars, it was nice to have Robbie back in South Lick from her trip to California in the previous installment. Robbie's relationship with police officers Buck and Octavia continues to grow alongside her evolving relationship with Abe and Sean. A dark undercurrent of racism and spousal abuse are prevalent throughout the book, both sensitive topics in today's society.


The Poet X
The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Teen & Young Adult
Book Type: Paperback
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Talk about a wild ride! 10-out-of-10, will listen again! This was amazing. The story was sad and heart-wrenching, yet hopeful. This made me cry.

Xiomara is a teenage girl trying to navigate life with so many things pulling her in different directions. It spoke to so many teenagers living similar lives. There are parents who try to live their lives through their children, parents, who think they're doing what is best for their children, but are actually putting them in cages to live the lives they want for them rather than letting their child just live, forcing instead of guiding. It was so sad and it upset me so much as a parent. The ending was hopeful, because the family as a whole sought outside help to deal with their issues, which so many families need to do, but do not. It gave me hope that while things would never be perfect, they could get better.

I am so very glad that I bought the audibook version of this book, because hearing the author's words, in her own voice made it more powerful and profound for me. This was excellent and I look forward to reading/hearing more from the author.


Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
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This was amazing. I do not understand how there are people who thought this was bad. My first thought is that it's white people who just don't/won't get what growing up black is like, but I don't want to be that person.

As a black woman growing up in racist America, even I cannot imagine what it was like to grow up like Trevor did. Apartheid... I just can't imagine. I've experienced racism, but DAMN! I thought this was a brilliant story about his life and the fact that he was unapologetic made it that much better. Why should he apologize? And no wonder he turned to comedy. Yikes! His life was fully a humor, but sadness and fear were very prevalent. I cried when he spoke about his mother being shot and how he thought he had lost her. I was so angry that nothing was ever done about his waste of space step-father. The only parts I skipped were anything with the dogs being abused, or if/when they died. I cannot do animal abuse or death even if the death is just of old age.

Excellent listen.


Obsidio (The Illuminae Files)
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I very much enjoyed this as the end of the trilogy. We were met with more characters, crazy shenanigans, and a self-aware A.I. that was bonkers, but not really. This finished out the story very well. I don't think I have it in me to write a more articulate review. Just know I liked this very, very much.


When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt
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I do not think I can adequately express my feelings for this book. So I will just say that I find Egypt fascinating and love to learn anything I can about its history. I also love women and stories of empowerment and the fight for that power. This encapsulates both. It was well researched, well written and the author did the narration herself and while it wasn't spectacular it was what I expected for something so academic.


The Vacationers
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or the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: Oover the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying tale of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

My take: The story built slowly. I thought this was going to be a light easy breezy beach read, but it had some parts that were darker than that. Each character was at some sort of crossroads in their life and had to work through their issues to make a decision and get through to the other side. Ultimately I liked the ending. Ironically, the character I liked the most was Carmen, the son's girlfriend, that all the other characters in the book disliked. She seemed the most genuinely nice.


Grounds for Murder: A Coffee Shop Mystery
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Grounds for Murder is the debut of the A Coffee Lover's Mystery series set in Devil's Beach, Florida and featuring journalist/coffee shop owner, Lana Lewis. Recently divorced and fired from her job in Miami, Lana has returned home to run Perkatory, the coffee shop started by her late mother. She's looking forward to entering the Sunshine State Barista Championship with her talented employee, Fabrizio "Fab" Belucci and is busy practicing her latte art.

Fab is popular, maybe too popular, with the ladies so he's been a big customer draw for Perkatory. However, when he doesn't show up for his shift one day and isn't in his upstairs apartment over the shop, Lana is stunned to learn that he's quit and gone to work for the competition at the Island Brewnette. Did Fab quit because Lana was looking to hire another barista or did it have to do with his girlfriend, Paige whose father owns the competing shop? Either way Lana is mad and goes to confront him resulting in a very public argument - unfortunately, when Fab turns up dead in the alley behind Perkatory the next morning all fingers point to Lana as the killer.

Desperately wanting to clear her name and save her mother's coffee shop, Lana sets out under the guise of writing an article about Fab's life for the local newspaper to find out what really happened. She quickly learns that Fab was hiding quite a bit about his personal life from alligator poaching to a rumored Mafia connection to a kinky sexual appetite.

Lana teams up with Chief Noah Garcia, her new barista Erica Penmark, her pot smoking hippy Dad and an adorable Shi-Tzu named Stanley. A fast paced plot with twists and turns makes for an easy afternoon read. Lana is a little tough to warm up to but by the end of the book I was enjoying spending time with her and Stanley and will look foward to her next adventures.


Fake Out (Fake Boyfriend)
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Fake Boyfriend is one of my favorite fanfic tropes, so it was fun to see in a novel. The story follows Maddox whose high school girlfriend refused to accept his repeated attempts at breaking up, so he finally lied and told her he was gay. She then outed him to his entire town, which, I don't care how upset you are, that's just wrong, so I actually felt no sympathy for her because of the lie. Maddox moved to New York to attend college and then stayed, rarely visiting his small town home in Pennsylvania. Years later he ran into the ex-sweetheart who was having a bachelorette party. SHe boo-hoos about how it should have been them getting married and how much she misses him. She then invited him to the wedding with his boyfriend...his non-existent boyfriend. And much like she did in high school, she blabbed and told everyone he was coming home. Everyone including Maddox's parents who make certain he can't politely back out of the wedding because they guilt him into bringing his boyfriend (that he didn't tell them about) home to meet them. Now he's tasked with finding a fake boyfriend to take home for a weekend.

Enter his best friend, Stacy, who convinces her gay brother to do the job. Maddox promises to get Damon, an endeavoring sports agent, a meeting with a high profile hockey player in return for the favor. Of course Damon cannot turn the chance to gain his first (solo) client and agrees. And shenanigans ensue. I don't want to spoil the good bits.

The characters were likable and flawed like normal humans. They were not perfect and there were bad choices made and misunderstandings, but not to the point of angst where you wanted to strangle everyone. It was a fun story where the plot didn't resolve itself immediately, but it didn't drag out overly long either. There was comedy, drama, angst, sweetness, and sexytimes. All of which were well written.

The narrators did a good job of capturing the voices and emotions of the characters. This was the first in a series and I would be interested in checking out more.


Kidnapped by the Pirate
Kidnapped by the Pirate
Author: Keira Andrews
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
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M/M historical romance. The story was well put together. It held my attention and made my heart race in all the right places.

Nathaniel is sailing to a New World Colony with his sister when they are set upon by pirates. As it turns out this is the very Privateer turned pirate at the betrayal of Nathaniel's father. Once the Hawk knows who he has in his midst, he kidnaps Nathaniel as he is the only son and heir of his bitter enemy. Hawk's plan in to ransom Nathaniel and finally visit revenge upon the man that took his legal life as a Privateer away. What Hawk doesn't count on is falling for his captive. Romance, mutiny and adventure ensues.

The plot was good, the characters were likeable, the romance was sweet and hot where it needed to be. The narration was spot-on. There was emotion and I felt as though I were truly "hearing" the characters. Job well done.


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