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Teaser Tuesday #6 : Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Brooke Banks | 4:00 AM | | | Please comment!

After so many years of being a Castle fan, I found out they published “Richard Castle's” novel series from the TV show. I finally got a hold of it now, after waiting a bit for the library hold to be filled. I am so excited to start this! And now that I'm back into blogging, this is a perfect way to share that enthusiasm.

The Meme Curator & Rules:

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So, without further ado:

My Teaser:

Rook opened it up and pulled out an art glass paperweight of a plant. “Check it out. I tripped on Uranus.” -pg. 14

I love it already, I can just picture Castle saying it. XD

NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat feels sparks from ride-along, journalist Jameson Rook. A real estate tycoon plunges to his death. A trophy wife with a past survives a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with motives all have alibis. Dirty little secrets of the wealthy hide until Nikki shines a light.

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[Review] Portrait Of A Dead Guy Rises To The Occasion As A New Genre Favorite

Portrait of a Dead Guy is a stunning debut. It's fun, enjoyable, and down to earth. The mystery remains one until the end with understandable missteps and misleads. It's a small town mystery with a working class cast that's refreshing. Characters pop and Cherry is a new favorite,  especially considering she calls an asshat an asshat.  She's strong with clear flaws and her family is as tight as they are annoying (to each other).

I'm definitely reading the next book, Last Dinner Standing.  If you're feeling disappointed and disenchanted, Portrait of a Dead Guy will renew your love for this genre.

Series: A Cherry Tucker Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy, Mystery,
Age: Adult
Format: PB, 270 pgs.
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Rating: 5 Stars
Recommendable? Yes

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.
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The Romance

Ah, the love triangle. What ever would we do without you? I will say though that Cherry has her mind about her and knows what she wants. Her problem is getting her backbone to cooperate.

Its not bad, drawn-out or whiney.  It's just there. Oh well, I'll be happy that it wasn't worse and dance on its grave in the sequel.

Small towns and its inhabitants

Things get twisted in small towns. It's mob mentality that settled down with tribalism and going against the flow is futile. Because you are in or out.

Rather than some idealized nonsense, it felt like home to this small town girl. It sounds awful, and it certainly can be with people knowing everything and pretending otherwise. This realistic portrayal does show how small towns work and why people stay. Sounds crazy but it works.

The background characters are engaging and you'll love 'em or hate 'em. It's refreshing that they are working class. Like my hometown,  one family owns everything and the rest struggle to get by. Honestly, these characters can't afford to miss shifts and have to work in the sleuthing on their off time. How fucking wonderful is that?


Oh yeah. I loved it and Cherry's voice. This sentence in particular: "The object of my desire, Todd's functioning vehicle, jerked to a stop at the curb while the object of my ire bounded up the slope to my porch. " Cherry is an artist and it colors her speech beautifully in other examples.


Recommended for:
cozy mystery fans, plain old mystery fans, those that want working class people in a small town setting including a strong, smart-ass woman lead  
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[Review] Rouge by Leigh Moore: NA Historical Romance Hits and Misses

Rouge follows mixed-race orphan Hale Ferrer as she performs in a New Orleans cabaret circa 1890. At 17, she’s been taking care of Teeny, another waif young woman who's approaching puberty. Soon Teeny’s talentless state will leave only one-way to make ends meet: backroom prostitution. Hale’s inching towards completing her plan of marrying rich for their survival until a stagehand begins making moves of his own.

From inception, Rouge drew me in with its shadowy, sparkling setting brought to life by Hale’s brave yet vulnerable voice. Its denouement surges forward, leaving my heartbeat racing and ready for more. It’s the middle--where stale, fair-weather love reigns--that drags ass across carpet seeking relief from blockage.

My first impression was similarities with Moulin Rouge. It’s not just its musical backdrop, but certain details like descending via swing and their secret affair songs. However, this isn’t necessarily a blow. Both works superbly showcase women surviving with little opportunity or hope yearning towards freedom. 

It’s resemblance is sensible without pushing into wannabe status. For one, Moore’s protagonist is the opposite of Satine. Satine’s been around the block and dreams of becoming a real actress while just coming of age Hale wants, above all else, to protect her at risk ward.

Series: Cheveux Roux #1
Genre: Historical, Romance
Age: NA
Format: Ebook, 302 pgs.
Source: Won from Bookhounds
Rating: 3 Stars
Recommendable? Yes
CW: Rape. Graphic attack scene, forced prostitution, underlying and pervasive threats against women,  POC, and LGBT.

QUARTERFINALIST, 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards

Romance, velvet, sequins, and murder...

Hale Ferrer is the rising star of the hottest cabaret in New Orleans. And her one goal is escape. Escape from the lies, from the crime, and from her growing fear that one day she'll have to earn her living in the secret back rooms, where the dancers do more than dance.

But she won't leave behind Teeny, the orphan-girl she promised to protect.

Freddie Lovel is rich, handsome, and in love with Hale, and he's ready to sweep her away with him to Paris. But her heart is captured by Beau, the poor stagehand with eyes as blue as Louisiana iris flowers.

Denying her fears, Hale is ready to choose love and a life with Beau, until a predator hidden in the wings launches a chain of events that could cost her everything--Teeny, their one hope of escape, and possibly even her life.

Content Warning: Rape & Bigotry. 

Graphic attack scene, forced prostitution, underlying and pervasive threats against women,  POC, and LGBT.

The Good The Bad & The Other
Liked Hale, Teeny, and Roland High-school-y insta-love
Loved finding out about Hale’s parent’s past Her wavering over decisions was irritating
Their guardian/ward bond was compelling Middle section drags
Reminiscent of Moulin Rouge Predictable: didn’t see its outcome happening any other way
The beginning and ending were captivating After reading, feel a bit mislead by the blurb

Trigger Warning IconNew Adult IconHistorical IconRomance IconInsta-Love IconSexy Icon

Plotting Through Longueurs

Plot-wise, discovering her parent’s past was my favorite part; I wish there were more than mere scattered pieces. It's obvious who the antagonist is early so I missed this “mysterious” predator promised.

Further, their struggle over Teeny doesn’t take center stage until midway.
Before that, it’s a young woman playing Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe to pick a partner. Even afterwards, Hale waffles depending on how the wind blows. Eventually, circumstances conspire to force her hand. Throughout, I worried about quality of life rather than death-dealing injury, rendering its blurb zero for two.

Dragging out romantic indecision left me waiting for something to happen while reading most of Rouge. Realistically, there’s little choice for Hale and series direction, so plot felt stalled. When events finally unfold, it’s enjoyable yet predictable. I missed that shocking tension built resulting from unexpected revelations. Perhaps I’m too cynical though.

The Charismatic Characters

Surprisingly, my favorite character was someone who worked within the system rather than subverting it and encouraged Hale to stop safeguarding Teeny at her own detriment, in spite of disagreeing. Enter Roland: gay black man that writes the cabaret’s songs. His loyalty and practicality won me over. Hale’s noble instincts needed a sensible soundboard. His straightforwardness gave Hale an opening to do right even when her friends didn’t agree. He maybe a voice of reason but not one of conscience.

As realistic as it was, Hale’s “omg you’ll burn in hell for being that way” worrying made me sigh. Thankfully, she doesn’t come up often or hound him. But it's clear she's not the best friend, and it's not just her homophobic beliefs either.

 She’s a compelling character, besides that and the Weeble wobble dance between beaus. Otherwise, she’d probably be my favorite. I liked Teeny in all her troublesome little sister-ness.

Hale and Teeny’s relationship is fundamental; this story wouldn’t exist without it. Hale maybe an orphan but she’s fairly fortunate, considering everything. Teeny represents what could’ve been though. While unable to enact change, at least one small girl can be saved from the horror stories Hale’s heard.

It’s admirable, intense, and charming. Of course, that doesn’t mean every motherly decision was agreeable. At first, it’s annoying how sheltered she kept Teeny because staying na├»ve is risky. Later, this revelation dawns and so begins worrying whether to educate or not. Thinking, “what if I’m causing my child harm or doing it wrong?” cemented her parenthood status for me.

Romantic Disinterest

Under such heavy responsibilities, it was hard cutting Hale slack although she’s young and clueless. I’ve been a single working teenage mom, seeing her gravitation towards an unfixed fling while spurring a secure relationship was irritating. Her snipe hunt made me feel vicariously embarrassed. At no time did I believe Beau’s prince charming act would come to fruition.
"Next time, don't let your guard down
because of a pair of big goo-goo eyes!"

Oh, look at his pretty eyes and cute smile! Add in sneaking around for make-out sessions and a jealous little sister, it’s no wonder the whole debacle felt high school-y. Beau gave the Charlie Brown football gag try, Hale got tingly as if he cuts off her circulation, and then they tangoed. The occasional tender moment with roses or the morning after wasn’t getting my motor running.


3 stars for being an intriguing read with a likable heroine but instant noodle sweethearts and predictability left me wanting more.

Recommended for:
New Adult or Historical Romance readers, especially fans of Moulin Rouge’s sort. It’s a perfect chance to cheer on underdogs creeping towards their happily ever after by crossing a minefield. Be wary if high school-y love tropes aren’t your bag. Comes with a trigger warning for rape and bigotry.
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[Review] So Close to You: Historical Time Travel So Close to Perfect

I haven't read many time travel novels (Seriously, I just read A Wrinkle In Time) and discussions of plot holes and such within timelines typically turn me off. I just...don't care enough to try following the thought along.

So, I saw a pretty cover with an interesting blurb that was worth a shot and entered to win the first two So Close to You novels. (I assume, I've lost all track of how I procured the book. Sorry!) It took awhile to get to read but I'm glad I did. Now I'm really glad the second one is signed.

One thing that does bug me in and out of time travel novels is the lack of consequences. Using it as a get out of jail free card would've caused me to quit. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

Instead, I was greeted with a turn I wasn't expecting. Even with the gut punch and cliffhanger, I was happy. Because what happened mattered. It had an effect which wasn't erased to make it "happy". I fucking loved the ending and it is the reason I continued the series.

Series: So Close To You #1
Genre: Sci-Fi, Historical, Mystery, Romance
Age: YA
Format: Hardcover, 313 pgs.
Source: No Idea
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.

When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to questions all her choices - and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them... and herself.

The Good The Bad & The Other
Actions have consequences instead of being erased for feel good ending Insta-love with angles
Solid protagonist Cliffhanger, though not the worst kind
Loved the historical setting that takes up most of the book, makes it come alive Conspiracy theories=Meh but whatever
Romance wasn't too drawn out and heavy Would've been nice to see Lydia thinking about journalism beyond idealistic dreams

Young Adult IconHistorical IconMystery IconRomance IconSci-Fi IconInsta-Love IconPage-Turner Postrs

Since time travel isn't my topic, what did interest me was how historical it leaned. Instead of lovers hoping around, it had a mystery taking place in 1944 and went back to investigate.

The conspiracy theory is an eye-roller as they always are but I was able to let that go. Maybe I'm more willing to suspend disbelief with teenagers, I don't know. YA is the only category where I can remember letting it go. Besides the complete balls to the wall, shut your brain off City of Dark Magic.

The young adult heroine, Lydia, helped with bringing in my favorite reading age group, admittedly. She's a pretty, typical, good girl but with a stubborn streak a mile wide and no annoying habits. I liked reading her and her perspective though it was nothing extraordinary.

I was wondering how an inspiring journalist would turn out. There wasn't any ribbing, defense of the profession or determination to be better. No worries of job prospects or career.

In the beginning, her journalistic drive was brought up a lot. Not that there was really much time or place for it after that, but it'd be nice to see a teen conscious of such considerations.  They do exist but /shrug.

The Always Included Romance

I wasn't too happy with the love angles sprouting up. I knew one was coming but still, I wasn't looking forward to it.

Since Lydia corrected one side and the other side was tied into the mystery, it didn't drag the book down. There wasn't much hemming and hawing about it.

Mandatory Gif. Oh, yeah. 
There were some moments of "What are you doing?" and "Get over it!", mostly tied to Lydia's ditzy romantic side. But...I got over it and so did she.

Okay, so I've also got a thing for dark, mysterious and brooding. I blame Angel. It's still insta-love. And no, I wasn't swept away like Lydia.  I wasn't repulsed either. Just...added it to my list for suspension of disbelief. Usually that doesn't work but it did here.

Random Thoughts:

Why call it TM and then try to be coy with saying it stands for "Telsa's Machine"? We all know it's a time machine, ffs. If they didn't want to label it such, they fucked up with the initialism. Make it different or make it standard, half-assing it sounds and feels like some weird knock-off shit.


4.5 stars for the ending above all else, for the historical mystery and for time travel that didn't turn me off or give me a headache.

Recommended for:
YA lovers, especially historical and time travel fans.

Note: I cannot find any information on how I received this book. It's gotta be a giveaway win or something, but nothing is coming up in my search. It's been so long, before the second one was even published since that one's an ARC. I'm so sorry! Please let me know if you're the person I got it from and I'll update ASAP.
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