Tuck's Book Nook

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again,

there is no use in reading it at all.”  

- Oscar Wilde

Breakable by Tammara Webber

Breakable - Tammara Webber

I looooved Easy, so I was super excited about this one. And naturally, I had really high expectations. But unfortunately this wasn't overly special for me. 

A large part of my problem with this book was due to the format. Constantly switching back and forth between Landon (age 13-17) and Lucas (21, aka when he meets Jacqueline) continuously pulled me out of the story. I actually found Landon's part interesting (maybe even more so than Lucas at times), but I found the constant switching disorienting. It became tough after a while to keep the separate story lines straight. I think I would have preferred all of Landon's story followed by all of Lucas's, or at least longer chunks of each. 

My other issue is a bit of a catch-22. Part of Lucas's appeal was that he was mysterious. He was a bit damaged and dark. Getting his whole history and hearing his side of things was like lifting the veil. Like seeing how the sausage gets made. And I think I liked him better from Jacqueline's perspective. 

Overall there just wasn't anything memorable for me in this one. I appreciate Webber's attempt to do something more than just the standard alternate POV though. For that she gets kudos, but unfortunately this didn't quite deliver. 

"I shuddered, loving her, loving her so much I could hardly breathe. Wondering if that was how it was supposed to feel to love someone or if I was just fucked all to hell and incapable of loving correctly, because all I felt was this insane, unfillable need, this empty black hole inside my soul. I was breaking apart in her hands, crumbling to nothing."

Kissing the Maid of Honor by Robin Bielman

Kissing the Maid of Honor - Robin Bielman

Part of me doesn't quite know how to feel about this. It started off pretty cute. It was light, it was fun, I was enjoying myself. And then it became all about accidental touches that sent sparks through their bodies.

Um, no. I hate this concept.

And even though Sela was supposed to dislike Luke for how he treated her in high school, she couldn't stop staring at his body or thinking about kissing him or blah blah blah. All you're experiencing is lust. Get a control on your hormones, girl. 

Basically the more I got to know the characters the more I disliked them. I thought Sela needed to have more self respect and stay away from a guy who continually acted like an arrogant, bossy ass. 

On top of that I thought Sela's best friend Vanessa was incredibly self involved. All she seemed to care about was her perfect wedding day, forget the best friend who was bending over backward for her. 

The ending improved a little bit, but at that point nothing could have really salvaged this.

Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Shelter Mountain - Robyn Carr

Perhaps I made a mistake by reading this book without having read the first in the series. But the synopsis made it sound like the story was independent of the first one so I thought it would be okay. And to some extent it was. There were obvious references to things that had happened in the first book, but some were explained fully enough not to lose much. Some however, were not explained enough at all. The Rick & Liz story was given a good background. I had some holes when it came to Mel and Jack though. For example, in one scene a guy came into the bar for a drink and Jack served him. I have no idea what followed that though. There was some reference to a trailer in the woods and Mel being called to midwife. I really have no idea.

Which brings me to my other major problem. You may be thinking to yourself by now, 'Why hasn't she mentioned the MCs of this story yet - Preacher and Paige?" Well the reason is, that although the book is supposed to be about Preacher and Paige, a significant amount of time was spent on these other characters and their own stories.

Once the Paige and Preacher story was set up and a few things happened...actually I take that back. More like one thing happened. Anyway, right there in the middle of their story, the focus switched to Rick and Liz and then Mike and then Jack and Mel. Paige and Preacher were virtually forgotten about for a significant amount of time. I've never read a book that lost such focus. Although the story started and ended with a focus on Paige and Preacher, I would say that 150-200 pages of a 370 page book was about people other than the MCs. And i didn't care about any of the other stories. By the end I didn't really care about Paige and Preacher anymore because I just wanted the book to end so I skimmed for the last 40 pages or so.

A Man for Annalee by Vonnie Davis

A Man for Annalee - Vonnie Davis

This was my thought throughout most of this book. I'm sorry, but most of it was just so stupid. And it felt lazy. It felt like the entire book was just sprinting toward the finish line. Even ignoring the instalove (which I can't), there was no character development. Things just happened instantaneously for Annalee.

One example was when when she meets Boone's adopted brother, Two Bears. She's so scared of meeting an Indian for the first time, who she thinks are scalping, bloodthirsty savages, that she faints with terror. When she wakes up she immediately punches him in anger. Literally a few minutes later she is saying to him "No, Two Bears, it is you who have charmed me. I have much to learn from you, haven't I?" That's right, mind numbing terror to new best friends in a matter of minutes. 

As you can imagine, Boone and Annalee's relationship follows a similar pattern. At the beginning of the book, Boone is a sworn bachelor and he thinks Annalee's a little crazy when they first meet. Within 3, maybe 4 days, he is swearing he would "go against anymore or anything to keep her safe." And Annalee, who had sworn never to get close to anyone else again because she was scared of losing them, had a new adoptive family and had agreed to marry Boone. Fear gone! 

On top of that, I was skeptical about some of the historical details (what grocers daughter goes to finishing school and then at 20 yrs old owns her own dress shop?!) and the dialogue at times was painfully bad. 

"If we were alone right now, I would caress your lips with mine."

Yeah, that's just called a kiss. 

If this wasn't so short I never would have bothered finishing.

Coming Up Roses by Catherine Anderson

Coming Up Roses - Catherine Anderson

Catherine Anderson has become my go-to author for entertaining historical western romances. While there is nothing particularly redeeming about the writing, Anderson certainly can weave a good yarn. 


This story revolves around Kate and Zach. Zach is a widower who moves onto the property adjoining Kate's. Kate lives with her four year old daughter, Miranda, her husband having died six months earlier. Zach immediately shows interest in Kate, but she is wary of strangers and rejects his overtures of friendship. However, when Miranda falls down a well, Zach rescues her but gets bit by rattlesnakes in the process and Kate has to nurse him back to health. 


As they spend time together Zach falls in love with her, but it's clear that both Kate and Miranda have emotional scars. However, Kate is being hounded by her late husband's cruel brother and to save her and her daughter, Kate and Zach marry. The rest of the story is about them learning to love and come together. With an added plot line concerning Kate's dead husband. 


Sexual and physical abuse is a huge theme that runs throughout Anderson's book and this one is no different. There is one scene in particular that is not for the faint of heart.


In terms of originality there is nothing new here. Anderson reuses the same themes again and again. But there is not denying that she writes an entertaining and compelling story.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke - Tessa Dare

This did have some pretty funny moments, but it often felt like it was at the cost of historical accuracy. 


"The threat is coming from inside the house"


"Was she planning to skip through the woodlands and meadows, plucking mushroom caps for parasols and letting friendly woodland animals guide her way?"


These contemporary references, while funny, pulled me out of the period and made the story less authentic, and therefore less meaningful, for me.

That said, at times the writing could be poetic...


"Little potbellied drunkards, those summer raindrops, chortling on their way to earth and crashing open."


And at other times heartbreakingly romantic...


"You did't kiss me like that was your first kiss.'

'Of course not." she turned and resumed walking. "I kissed you like it would be my last."'


"And then, in the space of a second, he understood it. He understood the reason he'd walked this castle every night in the dark. Learning the length and breadth of every room, arch, corridor and stair. It wasn't about regaining his strength...He'd done it all for one purpose: So he could get to her."


Unfortunately authenticity is a requirement for me in my historical fiction and in addition to the earlier references, the behavior of the characters didn't feel period appropriate either. Even the whole plot line around the fandom for Ophelia's father's books. Fandom behavior, like it's portrayed in this book, is a very modern concept. I don't think it has any place in the 19th century. 


All this being said, at the end of the day the book was entertaining. So for that alone, putting many of my hangups aside, I thought it deserved a 3.5. Just don't go into thinking expecting a realistic portrayal of the time period. 

Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

Recklessly Royal - Nichole Chase

Argh, I hate when kindle books end at random percentages! This one ended at 88% - I thought there was more!

Anyway. On to the review. 


Maybe this was me stereotyping, but in Suddenly Royal, I pictured David as this shy, kind of geeky grad student. Apparently I was wrong. He is an "Adonis." Meh. Of course he is. 

Honestly, I kind of wish that he had been geeky and awkward. Not only would I have found it more realistic, but I like having a male MC that isn't the perfect male specimen. You don't have to be a greek god to be good looking. But I digress. Besides, how would the author have accounted for the insta-lust/love if David wasn't an Adonis???

Anyway, I loved that the book started with Sam and Alex's wedding. Although the more they were in it, the more I wanted them in it. I could easily read another book on the two of them. 


But back to Cathy and David. It was a sweet story. There were some nice moments between them, but I just didn't fall in love with either of them. There wasn't the same chemistry as Alex and Sam had. Even in this book the chemistry between Alex and Sam came across as stronger than Cathy and David IMO. Overall thought it was a nice story, just nothing spectacular. My favorite part was Chadwick who provided a much needed comic relief throughout the book.

Cricket Cove by TL Haddix

Cricket Cove  - T.L. Haddix

Best. one. yet. 


From the very first page, this book pulled me in. (Now, if you haven't read the previous book in the series, this may not be the case.)


Yet again, this is a bit of a case of instalove. But again Haddix makes it work. 

Amelia is probably my favorite of Haddix's female MCs. She's completely multi-dimensional and completely relatable. And yet again, Haddix gives us a completely lovable male MC. He's flawed, but wonderful. 


There always seems to be some part or aspect of Haddix's books that drags me in with it's humanity.




If I tried to go through all my favorite parts, I'd be quoting the entire book. But more importantly even then just some good moments in the book, the story as a whole is what got me. It's hard to pinpoint the best parts when it's the story as a whole that is so incredible and the emotions it evokes.


I also loved revisiting with the rest of the Campbell clan of course. Sydney just gets more precocious and entertaining, as well as Logan's interaction with her. It was so sweet to see Archer and Emma getting married and settling into married life. The love between this family just jumps off every page. I want them to adopt me!


"You've invaded my dreams and I don't know how to get you out...I swore years ago that I'd never let myself get attached to any woman emotionally...You make me want things I've spent my life avoiding."


"The way he was looking down at her, eyes full of emotion, reached inside to heal a place that had been rubbed raw over the last weeks and months."

Mine to Possess (Psy-Changeling #4)

Mine to Possess - Nalini Singh

These book are like crack to me! I can't stop reading them!

Sleepless by Tracey Ward

Sleepless (Bird of Stone) - Tracey Ward

I came across this as a kindle freebie and was like 'what the hell, why not? And what a pleasant surprise. The plot felt fresh and original and I enjoyed it for the most part.


I laughed, I cried - and I mean actual tears ran down my face. Let me repeat, tears ran down my face! My contacts almost fell out. This. never. happens. to me. Sure my eyes may water up sometimes, but it is rare that the tears actually fall!


The banter between many of the characters was witty and felt genuine. And it was this humor that kept the first part of the book moving for me. The middle is where tragedy strikes Alex and there was one scene where I truly felt her pain (which is when the tears fell). This scene practically made the book for me it was so well done and so touching.


And then around the 70% mark the book took a turn. I was nervous at the direction that I could sense was happening, but it wasn't too bad, and then...PLOT TWIST.


Now I can see other people possibly loving the plot twist, I myself found it a little disappointing because it changed everything I thought I knew. Knew and liked.


And then of course the ultimate stab in the back. The mother fucking cliffhanger. And the icing on the cake? The sequel hasn't been published yet.


So up until the 70% mark, this book was at about a 4 for me, but I had to knock it down for the ending. I'll still read the sequel though.


Checkmate by RL Mathewson

Checkmate (Neighbor from Hell #3) - R.L. Mathewson

Dear Connor,

Love, Emmy

Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh (Novellas from the Psy-Changeling Series)

Wild Invitation - Nalini Singh

This review is only for the first two books so far since I'm trying to read in order. 

Beat of Temptation 5 stars*****

OMG, I loved this story. I thought Tamsyn let Nate get away with too much at first - he was hurting here and she seemed to just keep coming back for more. And, oh god, the way she interpreted Nate's actions was heartbreaking!! I was glad when the pack turned against him a bit to support Tamsyn.


"And neither of you tried to stop her from leaving?"

"Why would we?" Lucas's tone was hard. "You made her cry Nathan. You made your mate cry and then you didn't hold her."

Ugh. Just. Dying. 

The story may be short, but it is chock-full of emotion and depth. It could probably stand on it's own, but it definitely packs more of a punch if you've already read Slave to Sensation as you've likely already fallen in love with many of these characters. 

"She wouldn't be hard to track - she was carrying his heart with her."

Stroke of Enticement 4 stars****

This one I found interesting as it was the first (if you've read in order) to introduce a human character to the story. Zach and Annie were both likable characters and I thought the story progressed well, with the exception of a bit of insta-love (Zach realizes that Annie is his mate within like 15 minutes of meeting). But overall I liked it and I'm sure the devoted fans of the series will to. 

This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith

So it's already been almost a month since I read this so this review is going to be brief because I don't remember it that well. Part of that has to do with the fact that I read the first half of this seriously sleep deprived.


So I remember there was a movie star who falls for a small town girl who was the illegitimate child of a big deal DC politician or something. I think. Anyway, due to that she couldn't allow herself to be in the spotlight because the story would come out.



I don't know why, but this didn't work for me. I'm not a huge fan of the movie star or celebrity character/angle. I also didn't like the politician angle either. I thought there was enough material for a good story without adding that part. Just personal preference here though obviously.


Other than that I remember there was a thing with a boat. And a fight with a friend that I didn't really follow the reason for. And that's kind of all I got on this.



Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

Visions of Heat - Nalini Singh

Somehow there was more technical PsyNet stuff in this once which bogged down the action at times. I also didn't love Vaughn and Faith as much as Lucas and Sacha, who were

and who we still got to see in this one (yay!)

Super enjoyable and entertaining though - still loving the whole idea of the "mate" which I think is kind of why I'm loving this series.

Now, do I go right into #3???

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation - Nalini Singh

"They had under-the-skin privileges."


Honestly, my expectations for this one weren't very high. I saw tons of other friends gave this rave reviews, but the paranormal isn't really my genre and it's rare that I fall in love with paranormal books. But this was one of them! 


I feel like I come across so many books these days that are basically just carbon copies of each other, that when I come across something original, I like to take a second to acknowledge it. 



I read another review that I think nicely sums up the appeal of this series. (At least it sums up why it appealed to me so much), and it comes down to the nature of the changelings - strong, alpha males with extremely protective instincts towards those they love, completely devoted to one woman ("mate") for their entire lives, and who require constant touch and affection.


"His body recognized hers in a way that made not touching her an exercise in restraint."


"These men might have the potential for the negative emotions that had driven her race to cripple their own children, but they also had the ability to care on a level that the Psy would never experience."


"Don't pull this alpha thing with me, Lucas. You're not my alpha!" 

He had no desire to dominate her that way. 

"But I'm your mate."




Every touch between Lucas and Sascha, especially in the second half of the book, had my heart melting. As a very affectionate person myself, I live for those small caresses, sweet kisses, and reassuring touches that often speak more than words. I LOVED IT!


Anyway, while generally the world-building was good, some of the technical PsyNet stuff slowed things down a titch for me. In general when reading paranormal I find myself reading more slowly as I need to absorb and think about the new "world" in order to fully understand and appreciate it. Understanding the PsyNet with its firewalls and shields took some concentration. And, SPOILER, I'm still not totally sure how Sascha managed to link to Lucas in the book's climax. And for this I had to knock off half a star. 


Overall though I did love this book and can't wait to start the next one!

Cattail Ridge by TL Haddix

Cattail Ridge (Firefly Hollow) - T.L. Haddix

I am loving reading this series! TL Haddix has a style and method of writing that is uniquely her own and I'm enjoying every second of it. 


While this book could probably be read as a standalone, I am fascinated and impressed with the way each story in the series weaves into the others. It's almost like a huge family saga that's been separated into books that focus on different family members. And I love this family! 


This book centers around Emma (Ben's twin) and second oldest of the children. I have to say that I connected with her the least so far. I actually liked Archer more than Emma, I think. Perhaps Haddix is just really good at writing men or something because I've loved them all! The men in this series are sensitive, considerate, kind and thoughtful. I just...I can't...



Sorry. I'm back. Just got a little caught up for a second. 


Anyway, we were shown in Dragonfly Creek (Ben's story) that Emma gets pregnant and then suddenly moves home to Hazard. In this one we learn what happened to her and watch her story with Archer unfold. We were even briefly introduced to Archer in Dragonfly Creek when he first meets the family. We find out in this one how he became close the the family after that. Archer fell in love with Emma almost immediately - thankfully Haddix doesn't focus on this example of insta-love and we pick up five years in - during which time I like to pretend Archer actually fell in love with her :). The story follows Archer finally making a move for Emma and Emma trying to overcome some fears caused by her past. 


One of the sweetest parts of this book is Archer's relationship with Emma's daughter Sydney. It's not just that Archer is good with kids, he was there her entire life and he loves her like a daughter. 




That's how I felt about Archer and Sydney. 


Anyway, while not the strongest in the series it still had some great moments and I still enjoyed every minute of it. I can't wait to read the next one with Amelia. And please, oh please, tell me Rachel gets her own book too!!!