Howdy all! I'm  here today to reassure you I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am still kicking around. But you will have noticed I have not been reviewing books as much lately.

I had a busy summer. And I've had a busy fall. I also run two blogs now, so I am busy. But that's no excuse for not keeping up with my reviews. But the thing is I realize that I have a problem when it comes to my reading life of late. I still love to read, but my tastes have changed. I have always enjoyed romances and I've been returning to reading other genres and sampling new sub genres in romance. But these past few months, I've almost meh about a lot of the books that I've been reading. So I'm literally in the middle of several books and not all that interested in them. I think for some of them I was expecting an entirely different kind of read so now I am disillusioned by what the novel actually is, if you follow. Still, I'm curious enough to want to finish the books but I'm taking it at a slower pace. And having several on the go like this means that I'm not getting any of them read quick, especially when things have been so hectic lately.

Also, I haven't been able to read as many audios because I've been unlucky with my local Overdrive library! It's been a real thrown in my side, let me tell you! So my changing reading tastes are messy with me, as are my own time management skills and my lack of audio reading. And really, all I want is a great read! I've never had such a hard time finding a book to suck me in as I have lately.

So I've decided to return my favourite romance genre for a while, historical romance. This is a genre that rarely disappoints me so it's a safe bet I'll be speeding through the reads soon. As soon as I finish up some ARCs from Netgalley, I'm going to get back into the groove by bingeing on my sub genre of choice. I can't wait!

What's up next on the blog? I am going to finish reading and review a great romantic suspense soon. Hello Again is the second novel in this gripping series by Brenda Novak.


I'm really loving this read and cannot wait to share a review with you. Stay tuned as My Devastating Reads will soon be back into the swing of things! For those of you who love romantic supense, I do have some I'll be finishing up and reviewing soon along side Hello Again, so keep your eyes peeled for those as well. 

Happy Reading,
Jewels



Reported Missing immediately caught my eye because of the blurb. How could the disappearance of a young girl and an older, married man be connected? There are lots of possibilities, and I was excited to see the connection between these two disappearances. I've become increasingly interested in crime based stories, so this sounded right up my alley.

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense 
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I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I wanted to know the stories of Kayleigh and Chris, how they were connected--if they were connected--and find out what had happened to them. However, the novel didn't deliver any real answers because it was told from the point of view of Chris's wife, Rebecca.

At the beginning, I thought Rebecca would begin to look into these disappearances herself, possibly uncovering things the police had missed, or overlooked. But as the novel went on, the focus was less on what had happened, the connection of these two missing people and was instead focusing on the fallout Rebecca was suffering. She had become something of a pariah because it was assumed by the public that her husband, Chris, who went missing on the same day as Kayleigh, had something to do with Kayleigh's disappearance. That he was a criminal who had taken this young girl and was abusing her somewhere. Rebecca could not believe that this was true, but then where was Chris? Why had he disappeared? And why were his actions leading up his disappearance so questionable? Rebecca cannot help but wonder.
The novel is an exploration of happens to the loved ones of crime victims--or this case, of a missing person. It's exploration of what it might be to left behind, to be connected to someone who is a violent criminal, as Chris was thought to be.

That wasn't the novel I thought I was getting into, and therefore, I was disappointed. Even so however, I have to say that not all of Rebecca's activities and choices made a lot of sense to me. I could understand her inability to work, even her need to lose herself and therefore drinking way more than she should have been. However, I can't understand why she would seek Kayleigh's friends to find out more about Kayleigh. I suppose her depressed state of mind and constant state of doubt could be used to explain away her behaviour, but I did not feel connected to Rebecca. I found her drinking excessive, her daily activities non productive and her conversations with others never lead to any bits of the mystery being unraveled. Sadly to me, this character came across as rather two dimensional and immature. I really wish I could have connected with her more.

The ending cleared up all the questions, but I found it too quick and easy and way too much of it happened off page and then was never explained. I really was disappointed with how this book played out, from beginning to end. Maybe that's because I was expecting a different sort of novel, one more focused on the crime, but this was not a page turner in my books. It may be for other readers however, and I admire that the author tried a different tack in depicting a crime story.

A copy of the novel was provided to me from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Happy Reading,
Jewels
It's been a while since I've read a novel by Michelle Moran, and I have to say, she does not disappoint in her ability to bring historical settings and people to life. I do not know much about the history of India, and much of their customs and traditions I know only through television or conversations with people from that land. Reading this novel was most enlightening.

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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As many of my readers know, I adore novel setting somewhere in the pages of history. Whether it's a novel like Ms. Moran that seeks to tell history through fiction, or a romance set in the past, I just love the romance if you will of historical settings. Rebel Queen helped India to life for me. I hadn't known that women could train to become part of the queen's guard or even that India had queens and kings. I am curious to learn more about this.

The character of Sita is compelling because she is a very modern in her way. Nearly sold by her grandmother after the death of her mother, Sita's father decides that she should be well educated and trained to become part of the guard of Queen Lakshmi. Her ambition is fueled by the need to gain money to fund her sister's dowry, and Sita is successful, winning not only a place among the queen's all female army, but the respect of the queen herself.

Politics do not play a huge of the novel, but it does bring the novel to it's climax and eventual end, and Sita does have to aware of who her enemies are and who her friends are. But overall, the novel was more about Sita and her journey to become part of this elite world, her life as a part the court and then the eventual rebellion which brings the novel to it's close. Sita is a compelling character who leads an interesting life and through her we learn something of Indian values and points of view--on sexuality, on modesty, and manners. The novel is easy to read and is well paced so that you are always engaged in the story.

I did enjoy this novel, and find that Michelle Moran generally tells a cohesive tale in an intriguing chapter of history.

Happy Reading,
Jewels

You've probably read my reviews on the amazing Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens.  I adored each of these books, and each ranked a 5 star rating for me. They were just that good. It's rare to come across a series so well done, so I absolutely had to feature the first of the series, The Restorer as a  Feature Favourite.

Title: The Restorer
Series: The Graveyard Queen
Author: Amanda Stevens

The Novel: What was absolutely wonderful this novel for me was the writing. It was so well crafted that you are drawn into a world that is eerie, and vivid. The novel is both lyrical and haunting and the story is one that mesmerizes. I suppose what is so fascinating about this novel, and the series as a whole is the element of haunting. As in being haunted by ghosts. Ghosts and spirits are something in which many believe, and although many might laugh at the notion of spirits, there is always the question of what if ? And this is for me what is so captivating about the series, the element of possibility that makes this novel, and those that follow, chilling.

The Author: Born and raised in the rural south, it makes sense to me why Amanda Stevens chose to set her Graveyard Queen series in Charleston, South Carolina. She now resides in Houston, Texas. Ms. Stevens is an award winning author, including three Rita awards and has written over fifty books. She writes romance, mystery and young adult novels. I've read several other novels by the author and each has been riveting.

I cannot recommend this series enough. It's my all time fav. Not one book let me down, and they just kept getting better and better.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
This novel opens up more erotically than you'd expect of a historical fiction, but don't let that deter you. This is true historical fiction, and it is done quite well by Alison Weir. So for those of you that like a bit of romance, this is a nice change of pace though it is a denser read. It took me longer than I thought to get through this novel. 

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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This novel opens up with a very unsatisfied Eleanor of Aquitiane. Her marriage to the French king is an unhappy one and she seeks an annulment, which is granted allowing her to marry the great love of her life, Henry. This novel is primarily about their marriage and what that might have looked like. I don't know a lot about this period in history, but it was interesting to imagine these characters, the parents of Richard the Lionheart, and to see how mad they were each other and then watch that marriage erode. It's about politics too, to a degree, and their roles as monarchs and parents. All of this is interconnected and makes for an interesting read.

I think what I most especially liked was the style. The characters were ones you could relate to, the pacing was steady and so much happens--affairs, wars, family strife, betrayals. I think what move me most was the way Henry and Eleanor parted and it was interesting to have a piece of history painted for me. The exploration of relationships and efforts to heal old rifts is both hopeful and yet sad because you know the past cannot be recaptured. The novel was poignant in places and kept me wondering as to what would happen next.

Captive Queen tells an interesting history of a period in history that isn't highlighted in the television world's period pieces, and makes me yearn for me novels set in medieval times.

Happy Reading, 
Jewels