Book Review: A Road Paved In Copper

review-cover-a road paved in copperTitle: A Road Paved In Copper

Author: Angela Christina Archer

Genre: Historical, Western, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Armed with her six-shooter, Ava De La Vega dips the pen into the inkwell and etches her name on the Esmeralda County tax record book. A formidable force, that’s what her peers have called her. The woman in a man’s world, what did she know of mining ore, silver, and copper? Plenty. And it’s this knowledge that makes her of the richest miners in Nevada in 1903. Of course, it also makes her a target.

Traveling back and forth from Tonopah, Nevada and San Francisco, Ava blazes the trail from the dirt and grime of her mines to the fanciest hotel rooms, enjoying the finest wines, the most decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men.

Unfortunately, for Ava, she doesn’t see Craig Harrison coming.

A miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig has traveled from the harsh Canadian mountains down to city streets of San Francisco. Not looking for work, he’s happy with the comfortable life away from the deep mines, the dirt, and the ever sought-after gold.

Unfortunately, for Craig, he doesn’t see Ava coming.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was a little on the fence with how to rate A Road Paved in Copper by Angela Christina Archer. As I first delved into the book, I was a bit thrown by the style in which the narrative was written. There was a lot of description—beautiful description—but it tended to come off as telling more often than showing. For all the words used to describe Ava De La Vega’s world, none of them had quite the impact I wanted to really sink into the world building.

As far as the characters are concerned, Ava was a very strong, very competent main female lead, and in contrast, Craig often came off as a bit of a beta male. He had a tendency to sit back and let Ava do whatever she wanted rather than striving to push her into facing her faults. Between the two, I definitely liked Ava a lot more.

As for the romance… I had a few problems with it. Ava had a lot of past lovers, which is absolutely fine and didn’t bother me in the slightest, but what did bother me is the fact that she had both a relationship with Billy Jack, one of the “villains” of the story, Craig—the main male lead, as well as her foreman. It felt weird and unneeded to have the foreman’s relationship with Ava pointed out at the same time that she’s dealing with her past with Billy Jack, and her new lover, Craig. It felt like a bit of overkill.

That being said, It also felt like Ava’s relationship with Craig went a little too fast to be convincing. I think a large part of this is due to the fact that despite seeing the chemistry between the two lovers right off the bat, the majority of their relationship was played out off-screen on the trail back home, which realistically would have taken days, maybe even weeks. It was skimmed over and then they were home, and the readers were supposed to accept their budding relationship and keep moving forward. It didn’t feel convincing to me. I wish we’d gotten more time to actually see their relationship develop ourselves.

All of that aside, I still liked the book. Despite its flaws, I’d still say it was pretty well written. I liked the characters, the plot, the world building… Tonopah felt real to me, and it was definitely a different twist on an old western trope where the roles of the story were reversed a bit. Ava was everything I’d expect from a  strong female lead. In the end, I gave the book 3 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it also wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever read. It had its flaws and it’s great points, overall, I liked it. If you’re looking for a historical western-themed romance with a  strong female lead, I’d recommend you check this out—that part of the book was very well done. If you prefer Alpha males and simpering ladies, you might want to pass this one up.

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Book Review: Masquerade With A Marquess

review-cover-masqueradewithamarquessTitle: Masquerade With A Marquess

Author: Cerise Deland

Genre: Historical, Romance

Rating: 1 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Sophia di Contini risks her life to sail to England alone and slip into the homes of those she suspects stole priceless treasures from her family during the wars. Discovered by Victor Cameron, she agrees to search for her art his way even though she’ll live in his house, yearn for his touch, pine for his kisses….

Five years ago, Victor had to give up Sophia. Now he vows to keep her near him and to protect her from men who would destroy her. He’ll help her find her precious art even if he risks the chance she’ll steal his heart away…again.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I tried so hard to like this book. I am generally a sucker for historical romances, particularly from the Regency era, but regardless of how may times I picked up and set down this book, I just couldn’t get into it.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. I didn’t run into obvious typos, illogical behavior, or grammatical mistakes. The pacing, however, was extremely slow, even tedious at times. It seemed as if the book focused less on the romance aspect of the plot, and instead spent more time on the historical aspect of the time period. The narrative slogged through the complexities of the dialogue and character thought processes—often focusing entirely on the intrigue of the art theft and little else. At 50% into the story, almost nothing of significance outside of small talk between the characters seemed to happen and there came a point when I picked up my Kindle, read a paragraph, and said, “That’s it. I can’t continue reading this. I’m bored.”

And I was. So incredibly bored.

This isn’t the type of book I’d normally DNF. As I’ve said, historical romance is one of my favorite genres to read; I usually know that no matter the content of the book, I’m going to fall in love with it.

I didn’t love this.

I’m sure there will be people out there who eat this story up with a spoon. It is a story of passion, intrigue, and drama… but it just wasn’t for me. I expected a little more romance, a little less intrigue than what I got.

Book Review: A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court

cover-review-a connecticut fashionista in king arthur's courtTitle: A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court [Twisted Time 1]

Author: Mari Macusi

Genre: Romance, Historical, Fantasy, Time Travel

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Once upon a time there lived an outspoken fashion editor named Kat, who certainly was not your typical damsel in distress. But when a gypsy curse sent her back in time to the days of King Arthur, she found she’d need every ounce of her 21st century wits (and pop culture references) to navigate the legend. After all, surviving a magical plot, an evil prince, and a case of mistaken identity – all without changing history or scuffing your Manolos – takes some doing!

Luckily, she’s got her very own knight in shining armor, Lancelot du Lac, on her side. The honorable-to-a-fault and devastatingly handsome champion insists on helping her out, even though she’s not quite sure she wants him to. After all, shouldn’t he be off romancing Queen Guenevere or something? Will Kat manage to stay out of trouble long enough to get back to her beloved lattes, cosmopolitans and cashmere? And what will Lancelot’s forbidden love mean for the kingdom of Camelot?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It took a long time for me to decide what rating to give A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court by Mari Mancusi. This was the fun, sometimes silly, often thrilling adventure of Kat—a fashion editor who’s all about Starbucks and her Manolo’s, and not so much about medieval life—but it wasn’t without its snares.

Technically speaking, the writing was pretty decent. I found a small handful of typos throughout the book, but nothing terribly jarring. The writing overall was fluid, clear, and fast-paced. I didn’t feel like I was stumbling through awkward word choices or grammar issues. The romance between Lancelot and Kat was believable and steamy, and I rooted for them throughout the book. The world building was familiar and stuck pretty true to the core tale of Arthur and Camelot, and I enjoyed the idea behind the plot.

The problem for me, unfortunately, was Kat herself. I found it very difficult to like Kat. Honestly, she was kind of obnoxious and definitely more than a little self-centered. Her words and choices throughout the book were made with little forethought, often resulting in misunderstandings and trouble for the people around her, and instead of outright apologizing, most of the time she just pouted in her head about how no one liked her because she made bad first impressions. She certainly did at that—I hated her personality and found her more than a little annoying.

Still, the book was fun and a certainly interesting mash-up of an old classic tale and modern day drama.  Overall, I rated the book a “meh”. I liked it, I’m glad I read it, but I would have liked it a lot more had Kat not been as obnoxious, and had her actions had more realistic consequences. She just wasn’t my idea of a fun heroine to follow around for the entirety of a book.