Review: Fight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray

Review: Fight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray Fight to the Finish Author: Jeanette Murray Reviewer: Nima Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Fight to the Finish takes us back into the competitive boxing world of the U.S. Marines.  As book three in Jeanette Murray’s First to Fight series, the characters and environments are already well-established.  It could definitely stand alone, but is a better read for the books that came before it, especially as the characters react and interact.  Fight to the Finish focuses on the romance of JAG officer Graham and team yoga instructor Kara. Kara was a bit of a head scratcher for me.  As the mother of a child with significant allergies myself,...
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Review: You and Only You by Sharon Sala

Review: You and Only You by Sharon Sala You and Only You Author: Sharon Sala Reviewer: Nima Rating: B- You and Only You was originally published as the stand-alone book, Curl Up and Dye, released in February 2014. It appears that Sala is going forward with this as the first book in her new Blessings, Georgia series, named after the small town where her characters call home.  Unfortunately after a weak opening paragraph, the story really doesn’t get much better.  It is filled with clichés, repetition, and caricatures. LilyAnn Bronte lost her high school sweetheart and then lost herself. Everyone around her treats her like a child and this goes on for y-e-a-r-s. In all that time,...
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Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy The Score Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: Nima Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Author Elle Kennedy is quickly developing an avid fan base for her new adult Off-Campus series, and I may have to count myself among them—memes, gifs, and all. For this reason, I had a tough time giving The Score, book three in the Off-Campus series, a rating because it’s not my favorite in the series, although I still liked it very much. Dean Heywood Di-Laurentis is not as sympathetic of a character as hockey teammates Garret (The Deal) and Logan (The Mistake). He comes from old money, has not had much in the way of obstacles...
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Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy The Mistake Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: Nima Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Elle Kennedy did it again.  The Mistake, second installment in her Off-Campus series, is every bit as successful and enjoyable as The Deal.  The Mistake brings us the romance of John Logan, Garrett Graham’s best friend and teammate. Logan has a crush on Garrett’s new girlfriend Hannah from The Deal and more and more, he just has to stay away or else find himself fantasizing about a woman he can’t have.  He must find a way to move on without losing his best friend or drive himself insane.  To cope, he parties excessively and sleeps with...
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Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy The Deal Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: Nima Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Please ignore the cheesy book description—seriously.  The Deal has all the hallmarks of a typical contemporary romance (i.e. insanely fit and beautiful people, wealth, talent, and unreasonably intense sexual chemistry,) but none of the cheese.  This is actually a really good read. In a surprising move for the first book in a romance series, Kennedy tackles some significant and heavy topics relating to rape and abuse.  She works with her characters to move through and dump emotional baggage in a believable way without weighing down the readers responses.  When you get to the end, you’ve been...
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Review: Veiled Magic by Deborah Blake

Review: Veiled Magic by Deborah Blake Veiled Magic Author: Deborah Blake Reviewer: Nima Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Donata Santori is a classic witch, manifesting her power through ritual, spells, and ceremony.  Her specialty, however, is speaking with the recently departed.  In a modern twist, she works for the police department, interviewing murder victims, in an alternate reality where several supernatural species have been “outed” and are accepted as a common among humanity. Author Deborah Blake creates several likable characters that surround Donata in Veiled Magic.  I especially liked Peter, an art restorer that becomes deeply involved in the mystery surrounding Donata’s latest case. Chemistry builds between Peter and Donata, but it doesn’t have...
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Review: Against the Ropes by Jeanette Murray

Review: Against the Ropes by Jeanette Murray Against the Ropes Author: Jeanette Murray Reviewer: Nima Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: Against the Ropes is the second book in Murray’s First to Fight series.  It’s also the second book I’ve read with the same title in the last two years.  The first one, a BDSM story, wasn’t much better written than this one, but it was funnier and edgier.  Murray’s Against the Ropes fell solidly into the contemporary romance category, complete with too many over-used clichés and painfully predictable plot lines.  There were even some grammatical errors that slipped in with wrong tenses and metaphors that just didn’t work. Murray did successfully create two characters, Greg...
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Review: The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

Review: The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell The Paris Key Author: Juliet Blackwell Reviewer: Nima Rating: C What I’m Talking About: The Paris Key is aptly named on several levels. I like a good title. In this case it ties together multiple plot points of locksmithing, love, ghosts of the past, and finding a way through to the future.  Main character Genevieve Martin runs away to Paris, following a formal separation from her husband, to take over the locksmith shop of her beloved late uncle Dave.  She will find that Paris holds the key to unlocking personal mysteries as she works to “find herself” during this period of stress and change. The book begins in Oakland,...
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Review: Breakout by Ann Aguirre

Review: Breakout by Ann Aguirre Breakout Author: Ann Aguirre Reviewer:  Nima Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Breakout picks up right where Havoc left off, completing the Dred Chronicles.  The series should be read in order.  New readers of the trilogy will have the luxury of reading the series without the publication gaps the rest of us have experienced.  However, Aguirre created such strong characters and vivid descriptions that I had no problems falling right back into the confines of the penal colony of Perdition and its conspiracies. In fact, it turned out to be a relatively quick read for that fact. I loved that we got some unexpected background on more than one...
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Review: The Highlander’s Bride by Amanda Forester

Review: The Highlander’s Bride by Amanda Forester The Highlander’s Bride Author: Amanda Forester Reviewer: Nima Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: There are something like a million books out there (ok, I’m exaggerating, but there are a lot) that share the title or some variation of The Highlander’s Bride. We like our Scottish heroes and imagining what’s under—or not under—their kilts.  Come on now, Gerard Butler?  Richard Madden?  Sam Heughan? Kevin McKidd? *fans herself* So highlanders and their stubborn brides abound.  It’s almost its own genre.  I admit that I didn’t expect much from Amanda Forester’s version of this historical romance category, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  The Highlander’s Bride was, in a word, charming....
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