On the surface, “The Little French Bistro” has all the makings of a Hallmark-like romance. You have a 60-year-old woman rediscovering her life and passion after an event has her running away from her loveless, controlling husband, and making a new life for herself in Brittany. It sounds super idyllic and charming, except that the synopsis is misleading. Especially about what that “event” is, which inspires her to run away, but I’ll get into that in a second. This story is populated with a ton of people all like our main character, Marianne, too. All of them are floundering in their romantic relationships in some capacity and need something—or someone—to help push them toward living their lives full of love and passion. Again, another concept that I love and was super here for, except there were too many characters and they all sort of ended up blending together by the end of the book.
I was able to read “A Bad Breed” in just two days’ time; it’s a super easy read that’s brimming with a delightful gothic atmosphere. This book takes an interesting twist to the Beauty and the Beast stories, and while the author says this can be read as a standalone, I’d almost recommend against that. I’ve read one of Ross’ books so I had a brief idea of what Anne was and how her powers functioned, but without that… I think you’d be pretty lost, or feel like the book was lacking in some way. But, ultimately, the book is more than just a Beauty and Beast story, but also part mystery over what happened to Anne, and who is behind the attacks in a remote village. In fact, you don’t even really meet Anne until almost 40% of the book, which I have mixed feelings about…
I devoured this book on the beach. Which may seem a bit odd considering that the story takes place in the gloomy, often wet, underbelly of Victorian London, but go with me on this one. I loved Ingrid and Byrnes as a leading couple. You get the cool, collected blue-blood (not a vampire), who is desperate to get “revenge” on the hot-blooded, strong willed, and flirtatious verwulfen (think werewolf but without the actual shift) because she’s the only one to truly best him. Then throw in a really well-crafted paranormal murder mystery plot on top of that. I thought the romance itself was steamy when needed, and sweet and tender as the couple grew, making it both a slow burn romance, and just the right level of animalistic passion at the same time. Personally, I like my romance books with a heavy dose of plot that isn’t centered on the couple hooking up, and “Mission: Improper” delivered on all fronts!
Starting at the young age of fourteen and ending when she’s seventy-nine (when we first meet Evelyn), Evelyn Hugo has gone from bombshell, to sexpot, to Oscar winner, to civil rights supporter. Evelyn knew what she wanted from an early age—to get out of Hell’s Kitchen and away from her abusive father, and to be the biggest star anyone has ever heard of. And she accomplished that! Partially because of her talent, partially because she knows her worth and is unafraid to get dirty in order to achieve her goals, and partially because there is no one better at using the press and scandals to serve their own interests. Evelyn is both a force to be reckoned with, but also a deeply flawed and lonely. Shown through the perspective of Evelyn as she dictates her memoir to Monique, the reader is taken back to the early days of Hollywood to watch Evelyn’s rise, and her stumbles, to and through stardom. For a story about a Hollywood starlet, this book is LAYERED, and I don’t think I was expecting the level of depth it had, even though many reviews warned me to expect the unexpected with this story.
“Naked in Death” is my first J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts book, but I’ve been really digging futuristic crime and mystery books that feature actual cops and detectives, rather than amateur sleuths, that I just had to read this! Eve Dallas is a gritty detective who does not stop until she gets justice for her victims. In this case, professional sex workers who are brutally murdered by a client, their last moments recorded and sent to the police. It’s an old-fashioned crime on the backdrop of a futuristic world with flying cars, and where real coffee is a luxury. But for all the developments that this city has, the biggest issue they face is that their advances allow for all DNA to be purged easily. So a violent crime that could have been solved quickly, turns into a mystery and a race to solve before more women end up dead. But the crime itself tends to become secondary to the romance that quickly—and I mean QUICKLY—unfolds between Eve and a potential suspect… Which, and this is probably the first time I’ll say this, would have made this book better if the lead was an amateur sleuth instead of a detective.
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