Book Review: Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles

Title: Any Old Diamonds

Author: K.J. Charles

Publisher: KJC Books

Source: Amazon

Format: e-book

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes –Alec–is estranged from his father, the Duke of Ilvar. Angry and bitter at the way he and his siblings have been treated, Alec decides to take revenge on his father and the Duchess. His plan is to hire thieves to steal the diamond parure the Duke is giving his wife for their wedding anniversary.

He approaches the Lilywhite Boys–Jerry Crozier  and Templeton Lane–who agree to steal the jewels. Crozier will pose as a society gentleman and new friend of Alec’s. Alec, meanwhile, will publicly reconcile with his father and get an invitation to the anniversary party.

But Crozier soon uncovers Alec’s secret desires and the two of them end up in bed together. Will the heist come off as planned? Or will there be twists and turns in the road? 

This book was fantastic. It kept me hooked from beginning to end. I loved all the characters. Like, I want to say, “I loved all the characters, especially Susan,” but, in reality, it’s “Especially Susan and Alec and Jerry and Templeton and…” Okay, so I didn’t like the Duke and Duchess, but they were marvelously horrible. Believable in a way you wish people weren’t like, but just awful people.

The relationship between Jerry and Alec was amazing. It started subtly and then just exploded. It was hot and steamy and just wonderfully written. I think they’re my favorite pair since Lucien and Stephen from A Charm of Magpie series. They had some of the most heart-meltingly romantic dialogue. I seriously was just a puddle.

This book also managed to take me by surprise. I thought I knew exactly where it was going when, suddenly, it just went bonkers. In the best way. I was so excited by the twist and the new characters that were introduced. It was exciting.

I can’t praise this book highly enough. If you like heists, revenge, people learning how to be strong,and steamy love scenes, this is definitely the book for you. 

Have you read anything by K.J. Charles? What’s your favorite of hers? Or, if you haven’t, who is your favorite romance novelist? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Sunday Post April 21, 2019

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

cactus and a pile of books on the floor

Photo by the Bialons on Unsplash

This week was my spring break and I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t do a ton–I didn’t even make it to the movies, which I always do–but I rested and relaxed and it was lovely. I finally got back to the gym for a good week of workouts, which I haven’t been able to do since I hurt my foot in March. There was some resistance in going. I dragged my feet and didn’t get in as early as I usually do, but I was on vacation, so that was okay.

woman in glasses
Post-workout glow

On Tuesday, I took my cats to the vet. As usual, Brycee, my older cat, was an angel, and Cobbler, who I call my old man kitten because while I still think of him as a kitten, he’s really ten years old, was awful. It was so hard to listen to him screaming while they tried to take a blood and urine sample. They ended up skipping it because he was so stressed out. We’ll have to try again later this year when they can sedate him.

orange and white cat
brown and black long haired cat

On Wednesday, I went shopping for some spring-like clothes. I decluttered a lot of my clothes over the winter and everything left was dark colored. I was looking for something lighter and airier, and I actually found a few things! I hate clothes shopping, but this was a delightful treat.

Then, on Thursday, the weather was warm and sunny. I originally had planned to go to the movies, but the thought of being indoors on such a beautiful day killed me. I decided that I’d head to the beach and read, but, as I was getting ready, I decided that since I was heading to the beach, I might as well go kayaking. So, I grabbed my dry bag, packed a lunch, put on my swimsuit and sunscreen, and headed out.

It was amazing. I saw otters and harbor seals. I learned how to get the kayak over some waves. I was all by myself, so I sang Moana a bit. I almost got seasick, which wasn’t so wonderful, but it was part of the experience. I’m so glad I went and can’t wait to go again. I’m going on a big kayaking trip this summer so I want to get out an practice as much as I can until then.

Monday: Blogger Recognition Award

Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Predict Will Be 5 Stars

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Book Review of The Princess and the Fangirl

Friday: Book Review of The Earl Next Door

Saturday: Book Review of Milady

Monday: Book review of Any Old Diamonds

Tuesday: Top 5 Mysteries/Thrillers

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Book Review of The Stone Rainbow

Friday: I should have read that book tag

Saturday: Book Review of Song of Achilles

I had a wonderful week! I have one more day of spring break tomorrow, during which I may actually make it to the movies. I also will go to the gym and relax. And then, it’s back to work!

How was your week? Did you have any adventures? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Book Review: Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

Title: Milady

Author: Laura L. Sullivan

Source: NetGalley

Publisher: Berkley Books

Format: e-book (ARC)

Thank you to NetGalley and Burkley Books for this e-ARC.

Milady de Winter is a villain in The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. She’s a seductress, a spy, and a murderer. However, history is written by the victors–by men–and Milady’s story is much, much different than the one you might know. This book recounts her life from her early days being raised by her mother in the countryside to her confrontations with the musketeers.

I really enjoyed this book, but with a sort of caveat. It was at its strongest when exploring Milady–or Clarice’s, as she’s called in this book–past. She was a very interesting character and all her training was fascinating. I loved reading about her early days, her introduction to court, and all that followed.

Where the book was weak was when it dealt with the events of The Three Musketeers. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t read that book in years or the author was just too vague as to what was going on, but I found it a little hard to follow. I didn’t know where Milady was half the time or why she was there. It starts after she and d’Artagnan meet, but doesn’t explain how or when they did. I guess I’m supposed to be familiar enough with the story to just remember, but I honestly feel like this book should have been clear enough on that without me having to reread another book to get this one. It should stand on its own. So, all the Milady/musketeer scenes irritated me and dragged down the book. I will, however, say that the ending was brilliantly done and almost made up for all that irritation.

Overall, this was a fast-paced book full of intrigue and training montages of a sort. It satisfactorily explained the past of a character who I’ve wondered about, and expanded on the history of other characters. I’m glad I got approved for this ARC and look forward to reading it again in the future.

Four out of five stars.

Mildady will be released July 2, 2019

Book review: The Earl Next Door

Title: The Earl Next Door

Author: Amelia Grey

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Source: Goodreads Giveaway

Format: Paperback

Release Date: May 28, 2019

I won this book in a GoodReads givaway.

Lady Adeline Wake is many things: a widow, a philanthropist, and a strong woman. What she is not is a prostitute in a high end brothel. But when she first meets Lord Lyonwood, that’s exactly what he mistakes her for. Despite this near-disastrous first meeting, the two find themselves drawn to one another. Neighbors, they keep finding excuses to butt heads with each other, which only inflames their passion.

This was a very sweet book. I love Adeline. She’s very strong and passionate, not just about Lyonwood, but about things she believes in. Her first marriage had been very hard on her, and she is recovering while forging her own way in the world. I loved her friendships between her and the two other widow, Brina and Julia. I also loved her interactions with the girls from the school for underprivileged girls she was starting.

Lord Lyonwood was okay. He didn’t get as much depth as Adeline. The one thing I really liked about him was his relationship with his father. It was loving and supportive. They felt like they admired and respected one another, and that seems to be unusual in these types of books. It always seems the fathers and sons, especially, are contentious and angry with one another, and that wasn’t here.

This was a fast read. There wasn’t much depth to it. The relationship moved quickly, but it progressed in a natural way. I enjoyed reading it and will check out further books in the series.

Three out of Five starsT

Book Review: The Princess and the Fangirl

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl

Author: Ashley Poston

Source: Barnes and Noble

Publisher: Quirk Books

Format: Hardcover

Jessica Stone and Imogene Lovelace have nothing in common. One is a movie star who’s in the popular Starfield movie franchise, and the other is a geeky fangirl trying to get her favorite character, Princess Amara, saved. The only problem is Jess, who plays Amara, wants nothing more than to leave the role in the past and move on to other projects. At the big Starfield convention, a case of mistaken identity pit Jess and Imogene against each other… until Jess inadvertently may have leaked the script to the next movie. Now, she and Imogene have to switch places so Jess can find who has the script before it’s too late.

This was such a fun book! I loved every moment of it. Jess and Imogene are wonderful. Jess is a serious actress who is resentful of the role that’s gained her such popularity. She’s plagued the the toxicity of fandom and just wants out so she can take more serious roles. Imogene, on the other hand, is the force behind #saveAmara and will do whatever she can to advance her cause. I found Imogene to be much more relatable than Jess, but they were both very real in their own ways.

I also loved the setting of the book, which was the ExcelsiCon. A fan of conventions myself, it’s always fun to read books set at one, especially when the author makes the extra effort to make it seem real. Of course, there are things that happen at this convention that just wouldn’t happen, but that’s the fairy tale of it all.

The romantic relationships in the book were good, although not as satisfying at Geekerella. That one had time to grow and be explored. In this book, the main thrust is the two girls trying to find the leaked script and navigate each other’s lives. I liked the chemistry between the characters and how everything came together, but it wasn’t the focus and there were a lot more questions at the end.

Overall, this book offered good escapism and a fun peek into fandom life.

Four out of five stars

WWW Wednesday | April 17

It’s Wednesday! This week is going by too quickly. I’m on spring break and definitely think the week could go just a bit more slowly for me. Still, I’m getting a lot of reading done, relaxing, and enjoying myself. So that’s good.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked 3 questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Here are my answers for the week.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It’s a self-help book about how to treat yourself with compassion and embrace your imperfections. I heard about it from one of my favorite inspirational Youtubers, MuchelleB, and though it sounded interesting enough to check out. Luckily, the library had a copy. It’s short, only about 140 pages or so. If I really like it, I may buy a copy for myself to keep around. I definitely need to learn how to embrace my imperfections and be compassionate with myself. It’s something I struggle with daily.

I’m also reading Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles, who is one of my favorite romance writers. This book is about a diamond heist where a man named Lord Alexander Pyne hires Jerry Crozier  to steal diamonds Alec’s father gives to his wife. They pose as best friends and wind up falling in love. So far, it’s just a really fun book.

I’m also still listening to Good Omens, although I’m coming up on the ending soon.

What did you recently finish?

I just finished Stone Rainbow by Liane Shaw. This book is about Jackson, a gay boy living in a small town. Although there are rumors circulating about his sexuality, he is in the closet to everyone but a few friends and his mother. Then, a boy named Benjamin moves to town and Jackson finds himself intensely attracted. After a brush with near tragedy, Jackson decides he can’t hide who he is anymore and decides to make a statement to himself, his friends, and his own. I really loved this book a lot. My review will be coming next week.

I also just finished The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey, which was a sweet Victorian romance where the hero and heroine lived next door to each other. They are insanely attracted to one another, but keep finding excuses to butt heads with one another until their passion takes over. Review is coming later.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not entirely sure yet. At some point, I have to read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I got from Amazon Prime and haven’t touched yet. I also want to reread Aru Shaw and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi so it’s fresh in my mind before I read Aru Shaw and the Song of Death, which came out today (and my Target didn’t have!!!). So, either or both of those.

That’s my week so far. What are you reading?

Top 5 Tuesday

Top Five Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm. Each week, a different theme is given and you have to come up with a list of five things that fit that theme. This week’s theme is Top 5 Books I Predict Will be 5 Stars.

  1. Rage by Jonathan Maberry. I love Maberry’s writing and was a huge fan of his Joe Ledger series. This book starts a new series about Joe Ledger, who is now running leading a group of “international troubleshooters”–a freelance group no longer connected to the US government. I cannot wait for this book!

2. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston. This book is probably cheating because I’m already halfway through it, but I’m loving it so much! I want to shake Jess for being so dismissive of fans while at the same time wrap her in a blanket, take away her phone, and give her cookies. I also love Imogen: her passion, her geekiness, and her feelings of inferiority when it comes to her younger sibling. I’ve been there, girl; I’ve been there.

3. Rebel by Marie Lu is one that I’m less certain will be a five star read and more hopeful. I loved, loved, love the Legend series when I read it and it’s stood up on rereads. However, I’ve haven’t been overwhelmed with love for Marie Lu’s other books. I liked Warcross and Wild Card all right, but hated the Young Elites books in a way I rarely do. I hope Rebel is all I’m hoping it will be.

4. Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles will probably be a 5 star read. I love her books so much. They’re witty, romantic, and full of great characters. This one is about a diamond heist, and I love a good heist book. I think I’ll thoroughly enjoy this book.

5. A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer. This book is a long shot. It doesn’t even have a cover yet. It only just recently got a summary up on the website. But I loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely so much and Grey was my favorite character, that I can’t imagine this not being a five star read. I cannot wait until next year when it comes out!