Review- Elevation by Stephen King

Elevation

Title: Elevation

Genre: General Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Stephen King

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 161

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face—including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

**
I got this book because I love Stephen King but not all his horror/thriller writings. After reading his semi-memoir, ON WRITING, I was a converted King groupy.. I want you to know up front that this is a novella, only 161 pages and I tossed it off in a casual 3 hours.

Scott Carey is lightening up weight-wise at a rapid pace and he begins to understand that this is a phenomenon that he can’t stop or control. He tries to make friends with the Lesbian neighbors but Deidre has a gigantic chip on her shoulder and Missy is open to friendship but rather demure. Scott participates in a 12k race with Deidre and he manages to make a break through in their relationship. Doc Ellis, a friend, is also part of Scott’s support.

This is a book about prejudice and overcoming that. It is also a fantasy. It is heartwarming and sad.

 

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Recent Release Review- Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

Been there married that

Title: Been There Married That

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Gigi Levangie

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Feb. 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

In a world where therapist look like the Real Housewives of Equinox, where friends dispense Xanax like Pez, and where a woman’s status is directly linked to the how few carbs she eats…can one Hollywood wife take back her life?
Agnes Murphy Nash is in big trouble. When she returns home one evening only to find the locks changed on the gates of their mansion, the security guard breaks the news: her famous producer husband has filed for divorce. And he’s not going to play fair. Trevor Nash wants custody of their tween daughter, Pep, but only for the sake of appearances. And Agnes can’t let him win. With the help of her ex-con sister, a Hollywood psychic, a ballsy female lawyer, and a host of friends and “frenemies,” Agnes realizes that when he changes the locks, she needs to change the rules. But a crisis can lead to opportunity, and for Agnes, this gigantic betrayal brings her to a crossroads that will have her asking herself what she really wants out of life, who she really wants to be, and which man she really loves.

**
I read this book cover to cover thinking that “it must be me”. I must not be reading correctly or I wouldn’t always be so confused. Then it occurred to me that it was this book that was giving me grief. It was supposed to be humorous but it was try-too-hard humor, which means it was not funny. Often one scene would morph into the next scene with no discernible break between the two.

The heroine, Agnes, was often her own worst enemy, going off to rehab for a day for no reason. Allowing strange construction workers into her mansion when she had no idea what they were doing (spoiler: they were up to no good). Allowing prospective mansion-buyers to live in her house for a weekend and steal her piano and Tiffany clock. There was much more ridiculous stuff.

Trevor, the self indulgent, narcissistic husband, was so unlikable as to be irritating. How did she live with this man for 12 years?

Side characters like her ex-con sister, Fin, and the three Latino nannies were just filler, although often more interesting than the protagonists.

No, I can’t recommend this book, if I did I would be insulting your intelligence.

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Recent Release- Wild, Wild Rake by Janna MacGregor

Wild Wild Rake

Title: Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses, book #6)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Janna MacGregor

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Feb. 2020

Pages: 361

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Her first marriage was an epic fail.
Lady Avalon Warwyk never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry—that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.
Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?
Devan Farris—charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian—is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with a vicar with a wild reputation—even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside—a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?
**
This is definitely a 5-star read. There is history of abuse for Avalon which makes us feel deeply for her struggle and success. Devan has a wicked reputation for a Vicar but he is kindhearted and not at all as rakish as he is believed. Thane, Avalon’s son, is very astute and tries to force Avalon and Devan together. I could not put this book down, although life got in my way and I found myself rushing to get back to reading it. I highly recommend this book and the series.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Deet

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Valentine recipe

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Recent Release Review- The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

The Winter Companion

Title: The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon Series, book#4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Mimi Matthews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Feb. 11, 2020

Pages: 318

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon:

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He Wanted to be Heard…

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

**
Oh, my! What a delicious, beautiful ending to a wonderful series. Mimi Matthews is a favorite author and I intend to read everything she ever writes. I imagine even her grocery list is lyrical. The mid Victorian era is brought to life with all its sanctions, mores and prejudices. The slow to develop love is told in believable and lovely prose. The dreary, cold Devon weather seeps into your bones as you read. You just know Clara is falling for Neville because she is constantly drenched in mud and rain and still goes out of her way to get to the stables where she can have time with Neville.
This is a 5 star book and it comes at the end of a 5+ star series. If you have not read this series then I urge you to start with THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT, book #1 in the series, although each book can standalone.

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Review-Guilty Not Guilty by Felix Francis

Guilty not guilty

Title: Guilty Not Guilty (A Dick Francis Novel, book #9)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Author: Felix Francis

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: G.P. Putnam, Nov. 2019

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: off page

Description from Amazon:

It is said that everyone over a certain age can remember distinctly what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated, or that Princess Diana had been killed in a Paris car crash, but I, for one, could recall all too clearly where I was standing when a policeman told me that my wife had been murdered.

Bill Russell is acting as a volunteer steward at Warwick races when he confronts his worst nightmare–the violent death of his much-loved wife. But, the aftermath proves much worse when he is accused of killing her and then hounded mercilessly by the media. Losing his job and in danger of losing his home too, Bill’s life begins to unravel completely. Even his best friends turn against him, thinking him guilty of the heinous crime, despite the lack of any compelling evidence.

As Bill sets out to clear his name, he finds that proving one’s innocence isn’t easy. He believes he can track down the true culprit, but can he prove it before he becomes the murderer’s next victim? Guilty Not Guilty is a journey of greed and jealousy set against the grief of personal tragedy, with many a twist and turn along the way.

**
This is my first Felix Francis book although in the past I have enjoyed several of his late father’s books, Dick Francis. The novels of both father and son are set in the world of horse racing in England. Not so much this book although Bill Russell is a Steward for the racing authority. This is a page turner and you won’t want to sleep until you see if Bill can clear his name. Like me you will wonder how much this man can endure before giving up but he plods on never giving in or up. I did think he could have used a bit more help than good brother, Douglas. Yes, I can recommend this book highly for a fast enjoyable read.

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Release Day Review- The Arrangement by S. Day, M. Spencer and K. Vayden

The Arrangement

Title: The Arrangement

Genre: Historical Romance/Anthology

Authors: Sylvia Day, Minerva Spencer, Kristin Vayden

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books, Feb. 1, 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 4-5-4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Mischief and the Marquess by Sylvia Day
Justin, the Marquess of Fontaine, and Lady Sophie Milton-Riley are completely ill-suited to one another. But they will have to prove it in order to end their mothers’ insistence that they should marry. Yet the more they attempt to demonstrate how wrong their union would be, the more surprisingly, irresistibly right things feel . . .

Deet’s review: Sizzling, smoking, on fire, this is very explicit and if you don’t like that much sex than it is not for you. I don’t know if it is for me either. I have no objections to sex scenes but when they comprise most of the book then it becomes overload. Sylvia Day can write a good story and the side characters are certainly entertaining, so for that it gets 4-stars.

THE DUKE’S TREASURE by Minerva Spencer
Plain, prickly Josephine Loman has loved Beaumont Halliwell, the Fifth Duke of Wroxton, since the first time she saw him. But the most beautiful man she’s ever met had eyes only for Jo’s erstwhile friend, who betrayed Beau’s trust by marrying his brother. Beau hasn’t been home in years, but when his brother dies in an accident, he must marry to save the impoverished dukedom. And Jo is the overlooked heiress who will turn his world upside down . . .
Deet’s review: Minerva Spencer blew me away last year with her THE OUTCASTS series, so I was expecting a good read here. She never disappoints! This is a marriage of convenience story. Beau needs Jo’s money and Jo has been infatuated with Beau for years yet he has no recollection of her. The reader longs for Beau to fall for Josephine, but we wonder if Beau’s former love Victoria will get in the way. This one gets 5-stars.

THE INCONVENIENT COUNTESS by Kristin Vayden
As the eldest in a poverty-stricken family of daughters, Miss Diana Katherine Lambson’s only option is a marriage of convenience. Her only prospect is a rogue with a miserable reputation. Her only true desire: freedom. And that is exactly what Charles Brook, Earl of Barrington, is willing to offer, in return for the respectability their union will give him. He will even provide Diana with a contract. But does she dare entrust her future to a scoundrel? Does she dare not to?
Deet’s review: This was a unique take on the marriage of convenience trope. Charles and Diana are together for their mutual benefit. Diana to see that her mother and sisters are taken care of and Charles to devise the appearance of respectability so that he can complete a business deal. They quickly discover that they have a love match and of course there are problems. This story was well developed and written well. I give it 4-stars.

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Advance Review- Scot Under The Covers by Suzanne Enoch

scot under the covers

Title: Scot Under The Covers (The Wild Wicked Highlanders, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s, Jan. 28, 2020

Pages: 352

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

In Scot Under the Covers, a resourceful English lady and a hot-blooded Highlander join forces to trick a scoundrel, and every rule will be broken!
Miranda Harris is known for her charm, wit, and ability to solve any problem she encounters. But when her brother lands neck-deep in gambling debt to a crafty villain and Miranda is subsequently blackmailed into marrying him, she must enlist the help of the devil himself to save the family honor—and herself.
Devilishly handsome Highlander Aden MacTaggert knows next to nothing about the ways of the ton, but he most certainly knows his way around gaming halls and womens’ hearts. Still, Aden is not sure how he’ll manage to find a Sassenach bride in time to save his family’s inheritance. When his almost sister-in-law Miranda comes to him for assistance, he proposes a partnership: She will help him navigate London society and he’ll teach her everything about wagering…and winning back her freedom. The beautiful, clever lass intrigues Aden—but is she playing her own game, or are the sparks between them real? He is accustomed to risking his pocket. But betting on Miranda’s love is a game he can’t afford to lose. . .

**
This was a very entertaining book with a to-die-for hero, a savvy and resourceful heroine, the heroine’s stupid brother and a dastardly villain. The plot has probably been done before but I’ve never seen it done this well. Aden and Miranda are meant for each other. Along with the terrible problem of Miranda being a pawn in the gambling debt of her brother, the book manages witty banter and humorous scenes. This is a standalone book in the series but the first book in the series, ITS GETTING SCOT IN HERE, is just as entertaining.

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Recent Release Review- The Little Bookshop On The Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Title: The Little Bookshop On The Seine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: HQN Books, Jan. 7, 2020

Pages: 306

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating:4

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon:

When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.

But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.

**
Oh my goodness, is Sarah an immature teenager? No? Well that’s how she is written. On the other hand Ridge, the self-absorbed boyfriend is definitely portrayed true to himself. These characters are written like bad examples of Americans traveling in Europe. No longer the “Ugly American” now just the culturally obtuse American. I found it impossible to like Sarah and Ridge was not worth her time. The side characters were for the most part the bookshop employees. One was British, one American, one wealthy French. The rest of the part time workers were ignored except when they were busy trashing their boss, Sarah. She is in charge yet she lets everyone walk all over her. She has more of a workload than she can handle but does nothing to fix it. Ridge comes up with several explanations for his absence from her and although she questions their relationship she continually forgives the dirtbag. Sarah’s jaunts around Paris are designed to give the reader some atmospheric feels for the insiders Paris. But she keeps leaving the bookshop to wander alone or with a fellow employee which leaves me to wonder who is doing the work back at the shop?

I can’t recommend this book. It totally frustrated me. I did finish it but if it had been a paperback and not on my Kindle I would have thrown it across the room.

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Happy New Year from Deet 2020

New Year oprah quote

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