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Lieder Madchen has commented on (168) products.

Outlaw Hearts #2: Do Not Forsake Me by Rosanne Bittner
Outlaw Hearts #2: Do Not Forsake Me

Lieder Madchen, April 28, 2015

While the first part of Jake and Randy's tale just got better and better, part two, Do Not Forsake Me, did the opposite. It started well enough, though there was the minor annoyance of a certain character dying off-page for no good reason...Anyway, I liked the new side character, Jeff, a writer who wished to pen the true story of notorious outlaw turned lawman Jake Harkner, but other than him this book had very few redeeming qualities.

The core story was okay. Not great, but okay, maybe even good. However, it could have been told with maybe 150 fewer pages. It was the sheer repetitiveness that really got me. Every time something happened, the author showed every single character's reaction to it. Separately. This might have been okay once or twice, or maybe if the characters' reactions had varied, but it happened over and over again and their reactions were nearly identical. Yes, Randy is sick and it may be serious, let's show Jake's reaction, their son's reaction, their daughter's, a neighbor's, another neighbor's, etc. The repetitiveness was not limited to that, though; there is a guy who is in love with Randy but who will never do anything about it because he's so noble and knows she loves Jake, exactly like in the first book. *facepalm* I could go on, but then I would just be ranting.

My other biggest complaints are the moral plot holes. The male characters make a big deal over trying to be less violent and not kill people, yet at the end they basically just shrug off shooting an unarmed man in the back and promise each other not to tell the women! He may have deserved to be shot, but still, it was painful.

For the redeeming factors, there was Jeff (mentioned above), and Randy. Her storyline was the only one that kept me reading; I had to know how sick she was, but that curiosity was mostly leftover from enjoying her story in the first book.

Overall, this book was pretty bad. It tried copying Outlaw Hearts too much rather than trying new things, the characters quickly dulled as they repeated the same conversations over and over again and even though it was not an unusually large book, it felt way too long. My advice would be to read Outlaw Hearts and just skip this disappointing sequel.

I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Outlaw Hearts #1: Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner
Outlaw Hearts #1: Outlaw Hearts

Lieder Madchen, April 28, 2015

Western romance is not my usual cup of tea; while I read a few every once in a while, it is rare that I have enough to say about one to fill a review. Outlaw Hearts, however, caught my attention. It took almost half of the book to do so, though. Miranda Hayes, Randy to her friends, is a sweet, likable, almost too-perfect heroine. Jake Harkner is her opposite with a plenty of flaws and a dark enough past for three romance heroes. I liked them well enough at first, and the story was entertaining, but there was no pop.

The 'pop' I was looking for never really showed, but the story and characters gradually grew in intensity and depth until I was engrossed. I confess I came close to tears at a couple of points in the second half. It caught me by surprise, which was nice. I always love a story that manages to exceed expectations.

The story has several very dark elements such as rape and murder, but despite that there was a peculiar sense of innocence to it, even during the sex scenes. The villains and heroes were always very easy to tell apart; the only morally ambiguous character was Jake, and even he took to the high road with relative ease. There are gently placed Christian themes throughout, no heavy-handed preachiness.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It turned out to be unexpected and refreshing, both sweeter and more dramatic than anticipated.

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Boots and Backpacks - Pride & Prejudice on the Appalachian Trail, Roughly by Kc Kahler
Boots and Backpacks - Pride & Prejudice on the Appalachian Trail, Roughly

Lieder Madchen, April 28, 2015

Oh my goodness, Darcy is a total jerk in this book. At least, he is at first. For the first few chapter I kept trying to wrap my head around it; a version of Darcy who had slept with hundreds of women over the course of eight years of one-night stands. After a little while, though, I started looking at it less as a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and more of a contemporary romance that was just written by someone who loves Jane Austen. At that point, the book stopped bugging me and I just started enjoying it.

The character arc was simply delightful. As I mentioned above, Darcy starts out as a jerk. Ever so slowly, though, over the course of the novel, he learns and improves. He stops hitting on Lizzy all the time and starts actually thinking about her. The development was very well written. Lizzy has her own issues, and the way the two of them worked through things was lovely to watch.

I am a huge fan of the way Ms. Kohler worked in so many Jane Austen characters, not just the ones from P&P. Marianne and Ellie Dashwood, along with Christopher Brandon and Eduardo Ferraro, made an appearance, thought Ellie's was off-screen. Several others were slipped in, sometimes in a way that was obvious, and some that were rather sneaky.

While it took me a little while to get into it, I liked this book a lot. It had a great deal of humor and wit, making it a very entertaining read.

I received an advance e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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The Muse by Jessica Evans
The Muse

Lieder Madchen, April 28, 2015

I loved this book. It is one of the best P&P stories I have read this year. It is a flawless blend of brilliant new ideas and everything I loved from the original Jane Austen. It made me laugh out loud with shocked, horrified humor more than once, but also made me sigh at some lovely moments of pure sweetness.

This is a very modern, no-holds-barred take on Darcy and Elizabeth, to warn those who prefer the more traditional adaptations. Elizabeth gets drunk and does stupid things, Darcy appears to briefly go through a midlife crisis, and yet...They are still completely lovable despite, or perhaps because of, these imperfections.

I was very impressed by the way the author channeled Darcy's intensity into art. Every scene where he was working on his dance was positively fraught with passion (and frequently sexual frustration). When he and Elizabeth worked together, the chemistry was sizzling despite the effort both of them put into ignoring their attraction.

There were many times over the course of the novel that I wanted to strangle Elizabeth, which, to me, is always a sign of excellent character development. There was never a moment when I did not care about what happened to her, what she chose to do next. She could be a little bit petty, a little bit jealous, but always striving to be better. I alternated between cringing for her or cheering her on.

One cannot review this book without making a point to mention the dancing. Oh. My. Goodness. The. Dancing. I have never been particularly interested in ballet, but this book made me want to go take lessons. Of course, I would also want Darcy to be teaching said lessons so we could have passionate glaring contests. Sigh.

Anyway, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dancing, romance and dazzling displays of temper.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Garrison's Creed: Titan #2 by Cristin Harber
Garrison's Creed: Titan #2

Lieder Madchen, March 20, 2015

Oh, this book could have been written just for me. A hero and heroine with a messy, painful past relationship, long lost relatives, a faked death...I've always had this thing for characters who fake their own deaths. From the first page I was gleefully glued to the page as I watched the whole glorious disaster unfold.

Garrison's Creed didn't have the minor pacing weirdness that Winter's Chase had, so there was nothing to mar my enjoyment. This book would make an awesome movie. Danger, betrayal, romance...what's not to like? Cash and Nicola have a great dynamic; he's shocked and angry that she never told him she was alive, and she's never really stopped loving him. The sparks are enough to singe anyone.

The more of the series I read, the more I like the Titan team as a whole; their banter and teasing and loyalty. They fit well together, but they each have distinctive, interesting personalities. The more I read, the more clearly I can hear their different voices.

While I liked the first book, I loved this one.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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