The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane

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Grade: C
Hotness Level: Ember
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, mystery
Published: 11/24/14
Reviewed by Anne
298 pages

Robin is an inspector on the police force and he’s not thrilled to be called to scene at his old primary school.  There aren’t a lot of happy memories for him there.  Adam is a school teacher he meets there during his investigation.  They’re immediately attracted to each other, and the case keeps throwing them together, but neither of them wants to compromise the investigation.

I’d read a story by this author earlier in the year and enjoyed it.  I was saw this book listed on NetGalley’s romance section and I thought I’d give it a try.  I thought it worked well as a mystery, but was weak as a romance.  Unfortunately, I’m a romance reader who enjoys a mystery now and then, not vice versa, so it didn’t work very well for me.

It’s a typical large cast who-dun-it mystery.  I had a bit of hard time keeping everyone straight, but I know that’s part of the mystery.  I really enjoyed that Robin and Adam had a lot of chemistry but were responsible enough to keep it in their pants during the case.  It was also cute how they were happy to find reasons to contact each other.

While it wasn’t a great read for me, I’d recommend it for mystery lovers.

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Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill Shalvis

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Grade: A
Hotness Level: Ember
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary , small town
Series: Lucky Harbor #12.5
Published: 12/2/14
Reviewed by Anne
43 ebook pages

The first Jill Shalvis stories I read were some Christmas novellas of hers that were in anthologies I got from my library.  I really liked them, so reading a Shalvis Christmas novella that is an epilogue to one of my favorite books?  It’s a no brainer!

This novella gives us a peak at Sawyer, the sheriff and his wife, Chloe, now expecting their first baby.   It’s got peaks at many of the characters from the series, but especially Chloe’s sisters and their husbands from the first books.

Sawyer and Chloe have a disagreement about Chloe attending the town Christmas party just before Sawyer heads out on an extra assignment.  He doesn’t want her to go, due to the advanced stage of her pregnancy and her medical complications.  She, of course, is plotting to attend.  She feels like he’s wanting to get away from her and her pregnancy based mood swings and she just wants to do what she wants to do.

Of course nothing goes as planned and hilarity ensues.  It’s a must read for fans of the Lucky Harbor Series.  The only thing I didn’t like about the story is that after all that drama and comedy… they don’t tell you what they name the baby!  I’ll forgive it because I love the rest of the story, but it is driving me a bit crazy.  Is there anyone that’s read anything anywhere on the web about it?

Anastasia by Emma Taylor

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Grade: C
Hotness Level: Ember
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Fairy Tale, f/f
Published: 10/15/14
Reviewed by Anne

Anastasia’s father casts out her mother and younger sister, suspecting that they’ve corrupted the magic that kept his farm producing well.  Anastasia, still a child herself, goes with her mother.  Soon her mother remarries and Anastasia has a new step-sister who likes to sit covered in ashes, Elle.  This sets in motion an interesting re-telling of Cinderella.

As a fairy tale, it was an interesting read, but as a romance it failed.  I was fortunate enough to get an ARC from NetGalley, and it came with a warning that this was not an explicit romance.  I have no problem with that, especially when I know it going in.  My problem with the romance was that I felt like their attraction to each other came off as sisterly.  This is due, in part to their young (elementary school) ages when they meet each other.  To me they always seemed like sisters.

I also had a few problems with the world building in the story.  It’s presented as a place where women have few options.  Ana’s mom prostitutes herself to keep them in a crappy apartment before she marries Elle’s rich father. Later mom encourages Ana and Elle and little sister to attend the prince’s ball because marrying him will keep them safe in the future.  So, this picture is painted of the world, but then things happen that seem out of place in the world.  Ultimately Ana and Elle’s financial problems are solved through connections they made, not marriage.  That’s cool with me, but it really caught me off guard in the world the story took place in.

There was a Big Bad in the story that I enjoyed, but it felt a little rushed into the last part of the book.  It was also handled fairly easily.  That actually worked for me, since I don’t particularly care for suspense, but I know others might have a problem with it.

I’d recommend this book for someone who enjoys a fairy tale retelling, but it didn’t really work for me.