Thursday, October 15, 2015

Should've Said No

Should've Said No (Thistle Bend, #1)Should've Said No by Tracy March
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

Lindsay has lived her entire life in Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., but after a year of unemployment since being laid off from the Smithsonian Museum, she agrees to take a position in the tiny town of Thistle Bend, Colorado, getting their Heritage Museum up and running. She doesn't plan to stay more than a year or so, and definitely doesn't plan on falling for a sexy handyman cowboy...who happens to be the wealthy director of his family's trust--the same family who has been feuding with hers for over a century.

No one but her great-aunt and uncle know Lindsay is related to the Karlssons, and the closer she gets to Carden Crenshaw, the harder it is for her to keep that secret. Both sides want Lindsay to uncover the truth about the feud, each certain it will bring vindication, each hoping to influence her to portray their side in a positive light in the museum exhibits. What she does discover surprises everyone.

It was a solidly enjoyable book with some very steamy make-out & sex scenes. I didn't understand why there was a three-month time gap between the truth being discovered and Lindsay & Carden reconciling, though. And I really wished Tracy March had included the reveal scene between Lindsay and the two families. Ah well, I had fun imagining on my own how that might have played out. I had guessed part of the reason for the feud pretty early on, but I didn't guess the twist, so kudos to Ms. March for that!

For readers' advisors: character doorway is primary, setting and story secondary. See above about steaminess. A little bit of swearing (mostly the occasional "damn").

I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015


PaladinPaladin by Sally Slater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lady Samantha of Haywood has always been a tomboy, but after a demon kills her mother, she decides to become a Paladin--a demon-slaying warrior. There are no female paladins, however, so Sam practices in secret for two years, then runs away from home, chops off her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and invents a new heritage in order to begin her training. She is assigned both a mentor and a roommate. The first is her hero and the man who saved her life. The second is a half demon/half human whom the other students taunt and fear. After the trio save the training fortress from a demon attack--the first in its history--they are sent on a quest to learn more about a new fighting force rising in the East, the Uriel. Their orders are to capture the leader of the Uriel and bring him to meet their High Commander, but all is not as it seems, and new information shifts allegiances.

I'm so glad this is the first in a new YA fantasy series! I absolutely loved it and stayed up way past my bedtime because I couldn't put it down. Sally Slater did an outstanding job building the relationships between Sam, Tristan, and Braeden, and I can't wait to read the next book.

There were a few puzzling things here and there, such as how Sam managed to keep her sword practice truly a secret in a castle full of servants, why she thought her father didn't care about her in the slightest, and how she could hope to maintain her masquerade while traveling when her companions would know she never had to shave and did have to (presumably, unless on this world reproduction is different) deal with menstrual cycles which are never mentioned, but these were minor in comparison with the overall arc of the story.

For readers' advisors: Most YA fiction has story as the primary doorway, but this book was more about character development and world-building, although plot was also strong. There was a small amount of swearing (mostly "shite"), and a some sexual innuendo (primarily during the scene when Tristan decides Sam needs to "become a man" and drags both trainees to a brothel...which doesn't go so well). Otherwise it's a pretty "clean read." This would be an excellent read-alike for fans of Tamora Pierce, particularly her Alanna the Lioness series.

Many many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read a free Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.

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