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Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

The Christmas He Loved Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402274831
Pages: 353 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Small Town
Series:  Bad Boys of Crystal Lake-1
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

All he wants this Christmas is her...

In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it's also time to come home and face the music. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother's widow, Raine.

Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can't imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother's sudden death. Now he's back and she doesn't know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Or maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.

My Review:

Beginning Babble: I loved the first book in this series, The Summer He Came Home, and I was really looking forward to this one. I was a little bit apprehensive because holiday stories and me never really get along but I figured, why not?

Characters:

Heroine: Raine-I did like her but it was one of those cases where I find little things that annoy me about her. I just couldn't make a connection. I do have to say that I liked her more than I liked Maggie which is a small victory in and of itself. The points where she annoyed me, she annoyed me badly but when I liked her, I liked her a lot. 

Hero: Jake-As much as I did not make a connection to Raine, I made a huge connection to Jake. He was such a strong and steady hero. I don't know if I'll put him on my favorite hero list but I definitely did like him quite a bit. I seem to like Stone's heroes more than her heroines.

Chemistry: She was the widow of the hero's brother. That fact added an interesting dynamic and some tension. Raine and Jake had their own heartbreaking past together. Basically their past was full of gut wrenching angst. I love it when the hero and heroine have a complex history together. It adds such a depth to the story.

Chemistry Rating: 
Ending Babble: I am quickly becoming a huge Juliana Stone fan. Her writing style just works for me. I do wish that I could make more of a connection to her heroines but maybe in the next book. Again, I don't think this is going on my favorites list but I do think it was a great book and I will be looking forward to more from this series and Juliana Stone. I do hope that I like the heroine more in the next one.
 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: The Cowboy's Christmas Baby by Carolyn Brown

The Cowboy's Christmas Baby (Cowboys & Brides, #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402280491
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western
Series: Cowboys & Brides-1
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

'Tis the season for...
A pistol-totin' woman who's no angel
A tough rancher who doesn't believe in miracles
Love that warms the coldest nights

After a year in Kuwait, Lucas Allen can't wait to get back to his ranch for Christmas and meet his gorgeous Internet pal in person.
When he pulls in, there's Natalie Clark right in his front yard with a pink pistol in her hand and a dead coyote at her feet.
Lucas is unfazed. But wait...is that a BABY in her arms?

 

My Review:

Beginning Babble: Usually Carolyn Brown is such a good bet for me. Her books very rarely fall short and I usually love her characters and stories. But this time, it was a bit difficult. I had a tough time making a connection to both the hero and heroine and as a result I had a tough time getting into the story.

Characters:
Heroine: Natalie
-To be honest, she gave me a headache. If I had to read about how incredibly strong and "rancher" she was, I was going to pull out my own teeth. I always get the feeling that if you have to tell me something over and over, it just ain't true. I didn't dislike her exactly but I found myself on the verge far too often.
Hero: Lucas-He worked my nerves too. But not as much as Natalie. He completely dismissed Natalie at first because she had a kid...that's just not a hero move. Yes, yes, I know she didn't tell him immediately but with the way reacted...who would? He kind of proved her point, didn't he?
Chemistry: I spent the majority of the book trying to get over my intense dislike for Natalie. That kind of takes my focus away from whatever chemistry Natalie and Lucas may or may not have. As a result, it felt kind of "meh" to me. Tolerable but it made writing this review difficult.
Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I did like this book. It's definitely not one of my favorites and it had a lot of aspects that annoyed me. It had the adorable child who everyone loves and dotes on. I call it the "Michelle Complex". Too much focus is on how cute the kid is. I get it, he's cute...move on. Also, there was a little issue at the end of the book with Lucas' name. All of a sudden his first name was Justin. I don't think it's ever mentioned before that. It's almost like it was a spare plot point just added in for the cute factor. Kind of like "I know you think the hero's first name is Lucas but it's really Justin Lucas, so now the kid and him have the same initials, isn't that just the most adorable thing ever? really not. Maybe if I had known but I didn't and it frustrated me.
 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Kobo Aura


Introduction and First Impressions: Let me begin by saying, I have tried nearly every e-reader on the market. Sony Reader Daily Edition that took 20 minutes to turn a page, a terrible weekend with a Kindle that resulted in tears, a Nook that became annoying far too quickly, the Kobo Aura HD which I loved but only got to use for 10 minutes while setting it up for my Mother and a migraine inducing use of an iPad to read a book. I was on the point of giving up on e-reading but then Kobo came along and made everything better. It's not without some faults though—they are very minor though.

I was surprised when I opened the box how slight the e-reader itself is. It's so thin and light. It fits perfectly in my hand. Most e-readers feel a bit unwieldy and heavy in my smaller hands but this is perfect. The back is also designed to give a nice firm grip so I can read while walking—this is actually very important to me because I read while commuting.

Some basics about the Aura before we get started. The Aura has 4gbs of space—expandable with an SD Card up to 32gb, it has a 6 inch high resolution Pearl E-Ink Clarity Screen, it has 1GHz processor, and it can read ePubs, Pdfs, Mobi and txt. I haven't really used the PDF reader but I do have a few on there that I will read eventually.

Screen-One of my great frustrations with other readers has been the screen quality. Either they weren't sharp enough or they were too sharp and too bright. I am also particularly sensitive to backlight and too much can give me a migraine fairly quickly. I can absolutely say without any bias that Kobo has provided the best screen out of any I've tried. It's honestly only beaten by the Kobo Aura HD which features 265 ppi to the Aura's 212. It's almost as comfortable as reading a paperback. As someone who avoided e-readers for the longest time, this is very important. I need to feel as if I am reading a book—not a document—and the Auro provides me that experience. There is also very little eye-strain. In fact, the only eye-strain that occurred was when I decided to read a book straight through for 10 hours. It was the Anne of Green Gables series so it was acceptable. 

Reading Experience-I absolutely love how everything is so customizable within the book. You can change fonts, size of text, spacing, margins, sharpness of text...it's just beautiful. You can even add your own fonts. I have to admit that I geeked out and found a Jane Austen font and used it on her books. Yes, it improves the reading experience dramatically. The processor is also excellent. It's a 1-GHz Freescale 1.MX507. Yes, I know, jibber jabber. But the page turns are so quick, faster than a blink of an eye, the keyboard is very responsive and there is very little ghosting. I appreciate this because my Sony Daily used to take forever to turn the page or highlight or do anything really. I could knit a sweater before that thing turned a page.

I also love the enhanced reading features. There is a dictionary of course. And it is responsive and quick. It doesn't take much effort for the word to be highlighted and defined. You can also add your own preferred dictionary as well. I also love that you can highlight a word or phrase and the Kobo will give you related information like articles and related books. I haven't had an e-reader that featured that before and I found myself using it very often.

Dashboard: I absolutely love how Kobo sets up the homepage. It's like my bookish world in a snapshot. It has all my collections, all the books I am reading at once, recommendations from Kobo...everything you want to see. It's more organized than anything I can come up with in my paperback reading world. I organize that with post-its and prayer.

Backlight: I am a nocturnal reader. I am an insomniac and I can often be found reading in the dark at 4am. A backlight on an e-reader is especially important to me and a good one doubly so. The backlight on the Aura is excellent. It tops out at 405 lux—beating even the Aura HD. Also the brightness is pretty even from the top of the screen to the bottom. 



Battery Life: This is probably one of the things that impressed me the most about the Aura. It's kind of nerdish of me but the battery life of the Aura is unbelievable. Staggeringly good. Kobo advertises two months but I think I will go another two without charging. I have been using my Kobo on a fairly regular basis for about two months and I have only had to charge it once in the beginning of October. It is currently sitting at 96%. So, in almost two months it has only used 4% of the battery...with wifi and backlight off most of the time. That is just ridiculous good.

Internet: the Kobo Aura comes with a 802.11b/g/n wifi connection. It's pretty quick. I bought a couple of books from the Kobo store and they downloaded to the Aura in less than 10 seconds. It kind of makes 3g seem superfluous—but what do I know, I don't even have a smartphone. The Aura also comes with a browser in Beta. I haven't used it much but I tested it by opening and logging into Booklikes. It's quick but it wouldn't be my preferred way to access the internet but it would do in a pinch.

SD Card: The only issue I had with my Kobo is a problem with the SD Card. And my Mother had the same problem with her Aura HD as well. Almost every time I turn the Aura on with the SD Card in, a message pops up saying that I have to format the disk to FAT32. The SD Card is brand new, just out of the box, and bought especially for this Kobo. I have also reformatted the disk and it works on other devices. It's not every time but it seems to be when the device starts up rather quickly. Almost like the processor is too quick and the SD Card reader needs to catch up. It does show in the device settings that it is there but I wish Kobo would fix this in some way with a software update. Because while it does not hamper my enjoyment of the device, the constant pop-up is obnoxious. 


Customer Service: I did have to contact Kobo's Customer Service a couple of times. Both of them had to do with the SD Card. Both times the customer service reps were kind, helpful and courteous. Whether by Twitter or by chat on the Kobo site, they helped me along and were patient with me. I think good customer service is as important as a good product and Kobo provides that.
 
Extras: The Kobo Aura comes with a few bits and pieces that are pretty interesting. Reading Life is one of my favorites. It keeps track of how much you've read, how long you've read, how many page turns etc. I love these stats. I geek out at them. You can also get rewards based on these stats. Pretty awesome.

The Kobo also has a pretty neat recommendations feature via the Dashboard. Seriously, it sees you when you're reading and it knows when you like something and it curates a collection of recommendations for you. It's just beautiful. It's picked some books for me that I would never have picked up before.

Perhaps my favorite feature of the Kobo Aura is the new connection to Pocket. I am always coming across articles and blog posts that I want to read but put off till later but inevitably, I forget what it was, where it was located etc. Kobo's connection to Pocket eliminates that by connecting my Aura to my Pocket account and I can read all of those saved articles offline on my Kobo Aura later. I am becoming addicted to this feature just on blog posts alone.

Overall Impressions: This is one amazing little device. It really is. It is everything a serious reader would love in an e-reader. I don't think anything can mimic the feel of reading a book but the Kobo Aura comes quite close. I love my Aura. I'm planning on buying multiple family members and friends Auras of their own for Christmas. I am not going to rate this as I would a book but I am going to say that this reader converted someone who hated reading on an e-reader to a fan. A big one. The only flaw is with the SD Card but that isn't even close enough to being big enough to effect the rating. If I were to rate, it would get my highest rating--cupcakes. 

To Purchase Please Visit: 




Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton

When She Was Wicked (Honeycote, #1)Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 1455513326
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series: Honeycote
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 20132013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

SOME RULES SIMPLY BEG TO BE BROKEN

A dressmaker in London's busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton's steamiest secrets-and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn't something she's proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:

Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.
Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.

Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest-until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford.

Not only does Owen nip Anabelle's extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined. . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family's ruin. Owen's searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle's most devastating secret is finally revealed?

My Review:

Beginning Babble: I have to admit that I have read this book once already without reviewing it. The second time is the charm, I guess. I didn't really enjoy it the first time around. And to be honest, I don't even know why because this time I ended up loving it. In a big way. In a this is one of my reading highlights of the year way. In a Anne Barton is a new favorite author of mine and I will devour her books in a voracious kind of way.

Characters:

Heroine: Annabelle- She was one of my problems the first time around—based solely on margin notes. I couldn't make a connection to her and couldn't figure her out for the life of me. But, and I will be saying this a lot, it was completely different the second time around. She seemed a bit cold and withdrawn last time but now, I understood the reasons for her aloofness and empathized with her.

Hero: Owen-The one thing that did not change from my first reading to my last is my love for Owen. He was a pretty great hero. He was a bit stodgy—which I really like. But he did have a softer side even if it took a bit for it to be obvious. He is extremely protective of his sisters which just served to endear him to me more.

Chemistry: At first, I was kind of on the fence about the whole blackmail issue and how it would be used but I really love how Barton worked it in but didn't make it at all seedy or unsavory. It definitely added an extra dimension to Owen and Annabelle's relationship. I also loved how Owen's slight stodgy nature played against Annabelle's.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I really did enjoy this one. I mean, it's nothing I haven't read before but it's done so well that I really don't care. The writing is excellent and the characters are so well-drawn. There is just enough angst to be interesting but not so much that it becomes exhausting. I also adore Anne Barton's writing style. It reminds me a lot of Lisa Kleypas' for some reason. Barton is definitely going on my auto-buy list...in a big way.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: A Lady's Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn

A Lady’s Secret Weapon (Nexus, #3)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402258283
Pages: 363 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series: Nexus Series- 1,2
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Seduction is His Duty to King and Country

Ethan deBeau has charmed his way into the beds of countless women, enticing them to whisper all kinds of state secrets in his ear. But his latest assignment is completely different: find a missing young boy. It's practically child's play for a master spy such as Ethan. Until Miss Sydney Hunt threatens to unravel all his carefully laid plans. Who in the world is this woman?


But Tempting Her is All for Pleasure

Sydney has worked hard to maintain a facade of respectability—all while keeping a network of contacts among London's underground world. When she hears of strange activities at a local home for orphans, she's determined to find out what's really going on. Until she runs headlong into a notorious rake eager to expose every inch of her...

My Review:

Beginning Babble: I read this one at the start of my epic writer's block so I have let this review stew for a while. I don't know whether that is a good or a bad thing but at least that travesty of a writer's block is over now.

Characters:
Heroine: Sydney-I liked her a lot. She was smart, brave and all those good things but I loved that she had her own purpose. She was just as involved in the spy plot as Ethan was. It's so different from everything else I have been reading lately—many bodice rippers. I was so happy to see that she was not a damsel but a heroine in her own right.

Hero: Ethan-I liked him as well. I did. But not as much as I liked Sydney. There was just something missing with him. I mean, he was all of those good things-kind, brave, smoldery but there was something missing from him that made me really like him. I never really made a connection to him at all.

Chemistry: I didn't think it was lacking necessarily. I actually really liked Ethan and Sydney together but there was an element of “I want more of them.” They had this amazing chemistry and were really sweet together but I think it got a bit bogged down by the mystery. That's not necessarily a bad thing in a book where the mystery was done really well but I do prefer a more romance-focused book.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I really did like this book. It was one of the rare occasions where the romance was not the part of the book that kept me interested. The mystery was and that is so totally odd for me. I do wish that there had been a bit more romance but overall it was okay that it played a background role. I will definitely continue following Tracey Devlyn's books.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: A Song at Twilight by Pamela Sherwood

A Song at TwilightPublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402273258
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

A love too strong to let go...

Aspiring singer Sophie Tresilian had the world at her feet—fame, fortune, and true love—until the man of her dreams broke her heart. Now she's the toast of Europe, desired by countless men but unwilling to commit to any of them. Then Robin Pendarvis walks back into her life...

Four years ago, Robin had hoped to make Sophie his bride, but secrets from his past forced him to let her go. Seeing her again revives all the old pain—and all the old passion. It might be against every rule, but somehow, some way, he will bring them together again.

My Review:

Beginning Babble: I have been a bit remiss with my reviews for the most part. I have had the worst writer's block that I have ever had. Writing a single review has been a big giant pain.  I think it was just a phase because I seem to be over it. But I did love this book so very much so this review was pretty easy to write because it's so gushing.

Characters:

Heroine: Sophie-Usually when I come across heroines who happen to be talented at something, it ends up grating on my nerves because they keep trumpeting it. It tends to verge on the “Mary Sue” but not with Sophie. She was one of the more well-developed heroines I have ever come across. She had a really great emotional depth to her that I really loved.

Hero:Robin-I loved Robin. He was just such a great hero even though the situation he was in was pretty terrible and, on a not so great hero, would have made me dislike him. I loved how he buckled down when his wife returned and took care of his responsibility even if he had to sacrifice his relationship with Sophie.

Chemistry: This was an angsty one in a not so bad way. It wasn't painful to get through even though they had their moments. I just loved how Sophie and Robin acted like two mature adults. They didn't throw fits or have an epic big misunderstanding even though their situation would have warranted it. They also had their sweet moments and just the right amount of angst to make it interesting.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I just loved this book to bits and pieces. I loved both Sophie and Robin. They had such perfect chemistry and worked so well together. They had a deep connection that was both gut-wrenching and sweet at the same time (if that's even possible). The pacing of the story was spot-on. It was slow but it wasn't watching the grass grow type of slow. It was perfect---I could go on and on about this one—so I am just going to say that Pamela Sherwood is going on the auto-buy list. 
 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Guest Post: CJ Lyons, author of Broken

What's it like working in an ER?


CJ: Becoming a doctor was amazing—I come from a small town in Pennsylvania and worked three jobs to put myself through medical school—but becoming a writer was a dream I'd had all my life, so being able to make it come true has been fantastic beyond words.

My writing career hasn't been smooth sailing, in many ways it's as hard as being a doctor (I actually work longer hours now!) but it has been fulfilling in so many ways.

As a doctor the greatest rush came from those rare moments when I actually saved a life. As a writer I get the chance to touch hundreds of thousands of lives—and I can't begin to describe the feeling I get when I hear from fans about how my stories have done more than provide entertainment but have inspired or empowered them. Talk about your dreams come true!

But real life in the ER isn’t always that exciting—and definitely not as glamorous as they portray it on TV. For instance, the popular TV show Grey's Anatomy has interns, who'd be maybe 25 years old, sleeping with "world renown" surgical attendings…well, to be a "world renown" neurosurgeon you'd have to have 12 years of primary education, 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 7 years of residency, probably another 3 year fellowship, and then be in practice a long time, at least 5-10 years…so the 25 year old intern's love interest would be old enough to be her father! Gross!

Not only that, a surgical intern doesn't have time to sleep or bathe (interns eat on the run) so sex isn't the first thing you think of doing when you finally do make it to a call room.

Don't even get me started on stories where a "doctor" can do everything from take x-rays (99.9% of us wouldn't even know where the "on" button is) to diagnose rare diseases from glancing into a microscope to doing brain surgery one minute and heart surgery the next…while I love the idea of doctors being heroes, let's at least make us human.

Real life in the ER is a lot of hard, hard work—and it’s teamwork that counts. The ER is a crucible that exposes the worst and best in people. My seventeen years of practicing medicine gave me the chance to witness courage first hand and really see what it takes for ordinary people to step up and become heroes. I owe so much to my patients and their families for teaching me the true meaning of courage, love, faith, and strength.

Those years also gave me the opportunity to work alongside men and women who became my heroes: police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, social workers, prosecutors…As well as a chance to come face to face with evil, whether in the form of sociopaths, sexual predators, even killers.

All of these experiences have influenced my writing and are why I chose to write what I call Thrillers with Heart. Fast paced novels that aren't about the car chases and explosions as much as they are about the people and their relationships while focusing on a truth I discovered for myself during my time as an ER doctor: Heroes are born everyday.

About CJ:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
Winner of the International Thriller Writers’ coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster

My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk, #3)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 140227033X
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Steampunk/Paranormal
Series:  London Steampunk-1,2
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

In the mist-shrouded streets of a steam-fueled London, a clockwork army is on the rise, vampire blue bloods rule the streets, and war is brewing...

I Will Come For You...
He will find her no matter what. As a blue-blooded captain of the Nighthawk Guard, his senses are keener than most. Some think he's indestructible. But once he finds the elusive Mercury, what will he do with her?
It's his duty to turn her in—she's a notorious spy and traitor. But after one stolen moment, he can't forget the feel of her in his arms, the taste of her, or the sharp sting of betrayal as she slipped off into the night. Little does Mercury know, no one hunts better than the Nighthawk. And his greatest revenge will be to leave her begging for his touch...

 

My Review:

Beginning Babble: This is my benchmark series for steampunk. I don't claim to be very well read in the genre but I don't imagine many can come close to this one. I can gush like a crazyperson over this series and, while I am tempted, I will refrain.

Characters:

Heroine: Rosalind-I loved Rosa. She was strong and she was brave. I love it when heroines are just as involved in the action as the heroes and Rosa definitely was. She also never acted like an overly brave ninny which I greatly appreciated. I do wish she had spent more time as herself with Jasper though.

Hero: Jasper: He was awesome. He was strong and brave but he had this wonderful vulnerable and sweet side. He was protective of Rosalind in all the right ways and he was just so perfect. And again both sides of his personality were so well balanced. I don't know if he is my favorite hero of the series but he definitely comes pretty close.

Chemistry: I always enjoy it when it the hero who falls buttass in love with the heroine. Usually it's the heroine with the stronger feelings and the heroes being all manly and detached. It was the complete opposite with Jasper. He was a smoosh when it came to Rosalind and I found it so endearing. I also loved how it was a slow build with Jasper and Rosalind. It took time and it was gradual but when it happened...wow!

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: Bec McMaster is awesome. I mean it. She's absolutely amazing. She singlehandedly converted me to a lover of Steampunk. I was a pure skeptic until I read 1st book in series. The world she creates is wonderfully detailed and beautifully written and I love how she weaves the paranormal aspect into her story. Lady Quicksilver is no different. It's excellent. 
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review and Giveaway: A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand

A Risk Worth TakingPublisher: Accendo Press
Genre: New Adult
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Summary:

When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.
Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.
Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.
Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.
When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk. 

My Review:

Beginning Babble: I have just gotten into New Adult and I'm really loving each and every book I've picked up so far. It's just like with Steampunk. I am so far behind everyone and I am left to figure out what I have been missing. And apparently, I have been missing a lot.

Characters:

Heroine: Summer-At first, she struck me as a bit immature. Not exactly in a bad way but I had some moments where I considered disliking her. But I quickly got over that. I grew to really love her. It was so easy to make a connection to her and her journey was really interesting.

Hero: Ford-I don't say this often but he was so dreamy. If there is a big giant reason to pick up this book, Ford is like two or three of them. He's such a go with the flow type of guy. Not normally my type of hero but I loved him.

Chemistry-The conflict between Ford's easy peasy personality and Summer's tentative/terrified approach to love was one of the greatest parts of this book. Summer approached a relationship with Ford like you would approach a landmine. I could see why. She was more type-A and very cautious about relationships because of her parents and Ford was just willing to go where the wind took him. It was quite interesting to watch them try to acclimate to each other.
Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: This one started out a bit slow. It took me a while to get into it and make a connection to the characters but once I did I couldn't put the book down. This was also coincidentally, the first book I read on my Kobo Aura (that review will be posted this week as well). The writing was excellent, the storytelling was excellent and I loved both Summer and Ford. I loved this book. There is nothing else to say.

Author Links: Website, Facebook and Fanpage, Twitter, Goodreads, Newsletter, Blog Tour

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille

Against the Ropes (Against the Ropes, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402284853
Pages: 351 pages
Genre: Romance/Erotica/BDSM
Series:  Against the Ropes
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, Sports Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

He scared me. He thrilled me.
And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more... 



Makayla never thought she'd set foot in an elite mixed martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it's these guys. Then again, at her first sight of the club's owner, she's the one feeling breathless.

The man they call Torment is all sleek muscle and restrained power. Whether it's in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when a soft touch is required and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he's about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined..

My Review:

Beginning Babble: I am a big fan of sports romance. How can I not be? I am one of those crazy sports fans. I was really looking forward to the underground fighting and all the macho males that come along with it. But, I found that this one fell quite a bit short for me.

Characters:

Heroine: Makayla-Oh boy did I not like her. Mostly because she flummoxed me. She is an EMT but she has a fear of blood. Does that make any sense? No. As an EMT, there is a fair bet that blood will be a daily part of your life. How will she be able to treat people if she is sitting in a corner with her head between her legs? I would have bought the fear of blood if she had been an accountant or a lawyer but someone in the medical profession, no. And then there is that bit with the loan collector. No loan collector treates people like that. It wasn't like she owed, perhaps, the mob money. It was a regular college loan. They can't threaten or harrass you even if you fall behind. And what made it worse is Mac just took it. She told jokes to the guy. She didn't say...call his superiors or report him to the cops...she told him jokes. Brilliant.

Hero: Max- I liked him marginally better than I liked Mac. Only marginally. He was still problematic. His concept of BDSM was very Edward Cullen. “You shall know what I am thinking because I am thinking it and I know so you should know too.” He just expected her to figure things out...it actually kind of sounded like he was figuring things out as he was going along. I also would have prefered it if he was just a normal guy who happened to fight underground in his free time. The addition of the billionaire plotline made him seem too Christian Grey for my liking.

Chemistry: I didn't have as much trouble with Max and Makayla together as I did with them individually but still they fell short for me. The portrayal of a BDSM relationship was so iffy and it was so one sided. Makayla let Max just lead her around and she very rarely questioned anything. Their dynamic just didn't work for me.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I walked into this book thinking that I was absolutely going to love it and I did breeze through it but so much of the book went awry for me. I think there is a good book in here. I enjoyed some parts. The secondary characters were great, the writing was well-done, and the MMA fighting aspect was interesting. But at times, it just seemed like mishmash of many of the plot points in other similar BDSM erotica books. I just wish it had been a bit simpler. If Max was just a normal dude who happened to fight underground in his spare time and if Makayla hadn't had the drama with the over-aggressive school loan collector and been an EMT with a healthy fear of blood, I think it would have worked much better for me. 

I do think that while Against the Ropes fell a bit short for me, I will stick around for the next book, In Your Corner, because Jake and Amanda's story sounds so good.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Bad Nights by Rebecca York

Bad Nights (Rockfort Security, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402280009
Pages: 331 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Suspense
Series: Rockfort Security
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 20132013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

You Only Get a Second Chance...

Private operative and former Navy SEAL Jack Brandt barely escaped a disastrous undercover assignment, thanks to the most intriguing woman he's ever met. When his enemies track him to her doorstep, he'll do anything to protect Morgan from the danger closing in on them both...

If You Stay Alive...

Since her husband's death, Morgan Rains has only been going through the motions. She didn't think anything could shock her—until she finds a gorgeous man stumbling naked and injured through the woods behind her house. He's mysterious, intimidating—and undeniably compelling.
Thrown together into a pressure cooker of danger and intrigue, Jack and Morgan are finding in each other a reason to live—if they can survive.

 

My Review:

Beginning Babble-This one started out so well for me and I am not exactly sure where it went wrong. Towards the middle of the book, I just found myself drifting off into a sea of uninterested. I did try to get back into it but I think it's just not my cuppa.

Characters:

Heroine: Morgan-I liked her. She was strong and brave. She never really had a moment of being overwhelmed even though she kind of deserved to feel overwhelmed. She was strong and capable and one of the bright spots in the book. She's a heroine in the emphatically not Mary Sue kind of way.

Hero: Jack: I liked him too. He was just as well-drawn as Morgan. He was brave and strong but he also had a gentleness that I really liked. I did have a bit of the same disconnect that I had with Morgan about halfway through the book. He rebounded towards the end but it was a bit too late.

Chemistry-I am a bit flummoxed as to why I had a bit of a disconnect with both Morgan and Jack. The closest I can come to a reason is that I liked them both as individuals but together I just didn't buy it. It was insta-love and unless one or both of them happen to be a paranormal creature, it very rarely works for me. I had moments of really liking them together but for the most part, it was a bit flat.

Chemistry Rating-

Ending Babble-This book presents the odd prospect of a romance storyline that did not work for me at all and a mystery and suspense plot that kept me in it. That happens rarely. I don't know if this one would have been a DNF without the suspense plot but I think it would have been a close call.

I do have to say though that while this did not work well for me, my Momma, who is a big reader of romantic suspense, absolutely loved it. And she looked at me like I was crazy when I said it was okay.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

lg new readathonbutton border 

I should probably just say that I have a very vague idea about what I am going to read. Very vague. These are the definite reads:




Hours Read:Just Started
Pages Read:15
Books Read:None Yet
Currently Reading:Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton
Up Next:A Season Beyond a Kiss by Kathleen Woodiwiss

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Staten Island, NY
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The new Elizabeth Hoyt
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Tea!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am a compulsive cleaner with hoarding tendencies.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Trimming my TBR.

Hours Read:5 hours
Pages Read: 384
Books Read:Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton
Currently Reading:A Season Beyond a Kiss by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Up Next:Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

Update #3

Sorry I haven't been updating. I have had one of those amazing reading experiences where I just got sucked into book after book and couldn't move long enough to put it down. I have finished 3 more books and I am working on a fourth.


Hours Read:15 hours
Pages Read: 1712
Books Read:Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton, Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt, A Season Beyond a Kiss by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Once a Rake by Eileen Dreyer
Currently Reading:The Elusive Flame by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Up Next:Come Love a Stranger by Kathleen Woodiwiss

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wonderfully Wicked Readathon: Starting Line and Updates

WWReadathon


I decided to join in at the very last minute. I haven't done a readathon in a very long time so I figured--why the hell not? I am pretty much going to wing it with the books but I do know that I am going to read:



I know...boring but I am going to alternate with review books. Please follow all of my updates on

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: True Spies by Shana Galen

True Spies (Lord and Lady Spy, #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402276028
Pages: 346 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series: Lord and Lady Spy-1,1.5 
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

He's Getting Tired of Deception...

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him...

She Wants to Try a Little Intrigue...

Lady Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive—quite the jealous type—and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew...

 

My Review:

Beginning Babble: Spies are not normally my thing. I've never even seen a James Bond movie. But Shana Galen is one of my favorite authors so, I guess, spies it is. I really enjoyed Lord &Lady Spy so I was very excited to pick this one up and I think I love this one a bit more.

Characters: 
 
Heroine: Elinor-I love how strong she was. She didn't just fall all over herself when her estranged husband decided to spend time with her. She was not a pushover. She saw she was being treated badly and acted. It's difficult not to respect that.

Hero: Winslow-I spent the majority of the book hating on him a little. He was a putz. Who doesn't realize that it's not a good idea to leave a wife, for the most part, alone for the better part of their marriage without any love, affection, or attention?Apparently, Winn thought the idea was brilliant. It wasn't malicious and he had reasons but it's still not a nice way to get a husband into a wife's esteem. He was misguided and clueless but not a bad guy.

Chemistry: This one was quite interesting. They were married before and had a child. Their marriage was a fairly loveless one with Winn spending a good deal of time away. This was one of the most angsty and heartwrenching couples I have come across recently. Their journey towards a reunion was quite remarkable. It wasn't easy but getting there was quite interesting.

Chemistry Rating:


Ending Babble: I really liked this one. I enjoyed the angst. I always do. But I find that a good angsty romance is better when the hero and heroine have an intense connection and Elinor and Winn did. I also enjoyed the mystery and spy plots. They kept me interested and were very well done. I don't know if this one is going on my favorites list but it was definitely a great read and I am looking forward to the next one in the series. 
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: Facade by Nyrae Dawn

FacadePublisher: Forever
ISBN: 145557631X
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Series:  The Games Series-1
Challenges- 2013 150+ Challenge , 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge ,Romance Reading Challenge 2013, The 2013 Literary Exploration Reading Challenge, 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

 Can love save them?

After her father commits a crime that shatters her family, eighteen-year-old Delaney Cross is tired of pretending everything is alright. Packing up her car, she sets out to find the people her father hurt. Her search leads her to places she's never been--and into the arms of Adrian Westfall.

To the outside world, Adrian is a sexy, charming ladies man. But his playboy persona is just an act. Secretly his soul is tortured by a memory too painful to share. Only Delaney seems to see through his fa├žade to the real man underneath. And for the first time in his life, Adrian feels he can begin to open up about his past.

Together, Adrian and Delaney share a passionate, carefree love they never expected to find. Yet both still harbor their own secrets. When the dark truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together, or tear them apart forever?


My Review:

I am sorry this is so late. My computer was in a state of “don't turn on.”

Beginning Babble: I have to admit to a weakness to New Adult books. Quite different from my normal historical romance schtick but they are full of the angst I love. I didn't realize this at first when I picked up my first New Adult but I get it now. In a big way.


Characters:


Heroine: Delaney-I really liked her. At first, I didn't because I thought she was being deceptive to Adrian—and I was very protective of Adrian. I love that she had as many layers as Adrian. She's complex and it took me a while to figure her out. She also had very few moments of too stupid to live which was refreshing in a big way.


Hero: Adrian-As much as I loved Delaney, I LOVED Adrian. He seems very basic on first glance. A party boy with no depth. But it was a smokescreen. He has great depth to his character and I really just wanted good things to happen to him. He was just so heartbreakingly perfect—I may have to admit to a book hero crush.


Chemistry-They were perfect. In a completely rip your heart out way. They ripped my heart out, stomped on it and fed it to a hungry kitten. But I was completely okay with that as long as they ended up together. It was a big, huge, make me want to weep for a week-type of book.


Chemistry Rating-


Ending Babble: This book single-handedly made me fall in love with the New Adult genre. It killed me in the best way possible. I loved these characters and I wanted nice things to happen to them because they so desperately needed it. I also adore Nyrae Dawn's writing style. I have to read the first book in this series in a bad way. I can't wait for the next one.





 

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