Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Audio Dual Review ~ Kiss of a Dragon & Heart of a Dragon ~ Alisa Woods #AudioChallenge #2017NewRelease

Kiss of a DragonKiss of a Dragon by Alisa Woods
Fallen Immortals #1
Narrated byJoe Arden and Maxine Mitchell
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media. This did not affect my review or my rating. 
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Lucian: I am a Dragon Price of the House of Smoke...and I am dying. Five hundred years is truly enough for a man like me. A monster. Yet a ten-thousand-year treaty will die with me, if I don't spawn a dragonling to take my place. My two brothers are no use in this task. It falls to me, the eldest by a hair's breadth, and yet, I cannot face the horror of another sealing. Another death. Another woman's blood on my hands. Arabella: I was saved from death in a dark Seattle alley by an impossibly beautiful man who swooped in on golden wings. Now he's taken me to his lair, opened my eyes to a world of immortals I didn't know existed, and given me an impossible task - find him a mate. Then, and only then, will he set me free. He needs her more than he wants; she wants him more than she should; and the fate of both the mortal and immortal worlds depends on not just repairing their hearts, but finding a love that's true...




I was in need of some paranormal romance and this one...well, I have one word for you: DRAGONS. LOL It fit the bill, needless to say.

In a nutshell, Lucian Smoke is the "crown prince" of the House of Smoke - a dragon family in the unique and precarious position of protecting humanity. However, Lucian needs to find a mate ASAP in order to procreate and thereby continue protecting humanity according to a treaty. Enter Arabella.

These two were crazy hot together but refused to accept their attraction. Lucian because of his history and his "duty", Arabella because of her history and Lucian's being a dragon. It was rather entertaining watching them both fall, almost without their knowing it happened. Even though they knew each other a relatively short time, their feelings developed organically and they both did some emotional growing. It did end on a bit of a cliffhanger so I was happy I already had book 2 handy.

Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell continue to be a favorite narrating due of mine. I do wish Arden's voice for Lucian felt more consistent with those of his brothers but that's a nitpicky thing and I still enjoyed his chapters. Mitchell did well with having distinct voices. And they both excelled at conveying the emotions of the story.








Heart of a Dragon
Heart of a Dragon by Alisa Woods
Fallen Immortals #2
Narrated byJoe Arden and Maxine Mitchell
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media. This did not affect my review or my rating. 
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Lucian is a Dragon Prince of the House of Smoke...and he's dying. He has to spawn a dragonling to uphold the treaty that keeps the mortal world safe from the immortal Dark Fae, but a dragon's mate rarely survives the birth of a young dragon, and he can't face the horror of another woman's death on his hands. When he rescues a beautiful woman from a demon roaming the streets of Seattle, he has to seduce her without losing his heart...and before he turns into a feral dragon and breaks the treaty forever.




Heart of a Dragon picks up where Kiss of a Dragon left off. Lucian and Arabella both being stubborn but to opposite ends.

I have to say that I admired Arabella's tenacity. She's made her decision with regards to Lucian and she's determined to get her way. She's fierce in her feelings for him and undeterred, no matter the obstacles thrown at her - by Lucian or those intent on keeping them apart.

Lucian, on the other hand...his actions honestly left a bad taste in my mouth. While on the one hand I understood where he was coming from, on the other I felt his actions were selfish and cowardly. Not the decisions made by one who would be a leader nor those of one on whose shoulders so much rested.

There were some revelations in this installment but not enough to fully understand the bigger picture. And although some things are resolved between Lucian and Arabella, not everything was and it was a bit frustrating. However, I'm invested in the characters and the outcome so I will see their story through.

Arden and Mitchell were excellent. They continue to keep the narration exciting and the pacing just right.




Saturday, June 24, 2017

My TBR List Review ~ June ~ World After ~ Susan Ee

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading


World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)World After by Susan Ee
Penryn & the End of Days #2
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #MyTBRList, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?


Confession: I wouldn't have thought I'd have enjoyed this as much as I did knowing Raffe wasn't as big a presence. But there you have it.... :D

For me, World After was fantastic! It was fast-paced, gritty, and enthralling. I'm overly anxious to see how it all ends so it's a good thing book 3 is already on my shelf.

What Worked

  • The anticipation. Ee kept me glued to the pages and on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.
  • The thought-provoking actions of both humans and angels. Seeing how the humans reacted to and in situations, their fear of the unknown and of the "different". It was at times gut-wrenching. Would I react differently? Hmm... And learning more about the "why" behind all that's going on - the angels' appearance on Earth and the destruction they've wrought - was rather chilling. We see angels as benevolent beings and these angels are far from that description.
  • The detail. Ee deftly crafted this "world after" with San Francisco as its focal point. Her description of the landscape, the buildings, the people left following the attack is gritty, brutal, and terrifying. She doesn't shy away from the violence wrought by either side.

What Could Have Worked Better
  • More Raffe *sigh*

Okay, okay so there's not really much of anything I'd change. I think the actions of the characters is so realistic and I find it fascination to see how far both side - human and angel - are willing to go for what they want...what they're willing to sacrifice - be it to save themselves or those they love. Like I said, I'm overly anxious to see this to the end.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Audio Review ~ Smut ~ Karina Halle #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove

SmutSmut by Karina Halle
Narrated byLidia Dornet and Shaun Grindell
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media. This did not affect my review or my rating. 
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree, and take over his dad's ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career. What Blake and Amanda don't want is to be paired up with each other for their final project, but that's exactly what they both get when they're forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is an arrogant jerk (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her (tight, round) bottom, they fight tooth and nail. That is, until they discover they write well together. They also might find each other really attractive, but that's neither here nor there. When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it's not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Contains mature themes.




Oh my! What a fun listen Smut was!

What Worked:

  • Enemies to Lovers
    Blake and Amanda have certain preconceived notions about the other and despite never having spoken to one another, they despise each other. Which makes things all the more wickedly fun and delicious when they're paired up for the final class writing project.
  • Friends to Lovers
    Watching as they get to know one another and enjoying their witty, snarky banter made for a lot of fun and even some laugh-out-loud moments!
  • Erotica
    Specifically writing it and maybe a bit of acting out...you know, for research purposes! LOL There's some tongue-in-cheek and straight-up funny things about erotica, how it's written and published, how society views it, how it sells. Oh and the battle between Amazon versus brick and mortar stores. There is quite a bit about self-publishing included and I don't know if it's all true but I did find it fascinating. (I took notes!) 
  • Well-rounded Cast
    This cast was so well-done. All the characters are fleshed out well, including a 10 year old boy. I loved that Halle included best friends, crappy parents, a roommate studying cosmetology, and a tarantula. It all added more depth to the overall story.
  • Great Narration
    Dornet and Grindell were perfect for these characters. Grindell did lack a little range for female characters but he did just fine with Amanda. I think my favorite thing was their ability to convey the humor of the story. I think that's difficult sometimes so I was impressed.
My one nitpicky thing...barely imperceptible. This makes my left eye twitch. It's almost imperceptible OR barely perceptible. Grrr. Overall, Smut was a delight to listen to and Halle is quickly becoming a favorite author.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Can You Read a Series in a Month? Review #2 ~ Between the Cracks & Inked Armor ~ Helena Hunting


Berls @Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @Because Reading hosted this challenge last year and I really wanted to participate but just couldn't do it. THIS YEAR, I'm in! For all the details on the challenge, click the graphic above.


***

Between the Cracks (Clipped Wings, #1.5)Between the Cracks by Helena Hunting
Clipped Wings #1.5
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: Can You Read a Series in a Month?, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Tattooiest Chris Zelter doesn't always make the best decisions when it comes to the people he cares about, or the women he gets involved with. Things have changed recently, though. Chris has lost interest in casual flings as he finds himself wrapped up in Sarah Adamson, a waitress at the local strip club he frequents. It takes months of persistent attention before she finally agrees to date him, and he's determined not to mess it up.

Just as things are finally going his way, Chris receives a troubled phone call in the middle of the night from Hayden Stryker, his best friend and business partner. Unexpected revelations and the sudden departure of his girlfriend, Tenley, has nearly sent Hayden over the edge. Add in a speeding ticket and an impounded car and Hayden is balanced on the precipice of a total meltdown. Worried about his friend, Chris sets out on a rescue road trip, first to get Heyden, and then to bring back Tenley. The two men run into unforeseen roadblocks, proving even the best intentions don't guarantee results.

Chris and Hayden return to Chicago empty handed, and Chris is left feeling as if he's let down all the people who matter, especially Sarah. But Chris discovers that sometimes the best way to deal with failure is to find a way to forget about it. And losing himself in Sarah is the perfect way to do just that.




Between the Cracks is a little glimpse into Chris' world/head in the few days following the incident with Tenley and her subsequent return "home". It was a short, quick read, but I enjoyed seeing this part of Chris - his loyalty and love for Hayden - as well as his obvious deeper feelings for Sarah.

Onto Inked Armor...






Inked Armor (Clipped Wings, #2)Inked Armor by Helena Hunting
Clipped Wings #2
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I won a paperback copy in a giveaway hosted by the blog formerly known as The Bookish Babe
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: Can You Read a Series in a Month?, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker's tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn't believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents' death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.




Inked Armor picks up essentially where Clipped Wings ended. Things between Hayden and Tenley are even more tenuous and strained. It seems they aren't done battling their pasts - question is...do they do it together?

Clearly if things are to work out between these two, their pasts have to be dealt with. However, Hayden doesn't know how to deal with Tenley's and he's not so interested in sharing his past with her. These two can't stay apart though and it broke my heart watching them try to find the right path - the one leading them to each other.

I didn't find Inked Armor to be as emotionally gripped as Clipped Wings. There were things that were glossed over, predictable, or too cleanly resolved. But at its heart, this is a love story where love proves its strength and tenacity when it's the real deal.

The way Hunting used tattoos in Hayden and Tenley's healing process was fascinating. It's made me consider tattoos more carefully and wonder about the stories behind them. The character growth in both Hayden and Tenley demonstrated was admirable. They both figured out ways to deal with things on their own so they could be better in ways that made for a more solid foundation for their relationship. I also delighted in the stellar secondary cast members. They were a tight-knit group and gave Tenley and Hayden the family and stability they needed. 

Inked Armor is the end of Hayden and Tenley's part of the story. The final novel is Chris and Sarah's story, and I'm eager for it. 




Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Release Blitz ~ Cherry Pie Cure ~ M Jane Colette @mjanecolette

CHERRY PIE CURE
Author: M. Jane Colette
Publisher: GENRES were made to be BROKEN (indie)
Release Date: June 15, 2017
ISBN (softcover): 978-0- 9958102-6- 6
ISBN (e-book): 978-0- 9958102-7- 3
Word Count: 50,000 (45,000 novella + 5,000 words bonus material)
Genres/Categories: Contemporary romance, rom-com, chick lit with bite

A woman scorned. A blog. An outrageously sexy stock boy. A tribe of strange Internet friends.

Flying packages of sex toys. And, a to-die- for cherry pie recipe.
When Susan discovers her husband of twenty-two years is cheating on her, she is sure her life is over. And she thinks her friend Marcella’s advice that she work through her feelings in a blog is
stupid. She just wants to sit on the couch in her ex’s old bathrobe, feel sorry for herself, and chain-smoke. But her growing blogging tribe and a delectable (“OMFG how old is he?”) real life stranger have other plans for her… if Susan’s brave enough to embrace them.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Susan as The Heroine. Baker extraordinaire, yoga-hater, Luddite, and an innocent prude. “I don’t think an exercise routine developed by half-starved men in India is particularly suitable to
short, curvy, booby white women. My breasts get in the way of everything. OMG, I just typed breasts. How do I delete this post?”

Marcella as Her Best Friend. Entrepreneur, musician and happily divorced self-proclaimed “slut” who has an opinion on everything and a solution to everyone’s problems except her own. “Look, Susan, do what you want, but either keep on with the blog or go sleep with a twenty-five-year- old boy. Do you want to be a pathetic blob of goo in your cheating husband’s bathrobe?”

Cody and Tyler as Her Adult Sons. “What were you thinking, Mom?” “Jesus, how old is he, Mom?” “Have you no pride, Mom?” “Oh-my- god-what’s- wrong-with- you, Mom?”

Nika as Cody’s Maybe-Maybe- Not Girlfriend. “I’m totally trolling Tinder for Persian guys now. Just so you know, Mama Susan.”

sugar&spice76 as Susan’s First Fan. “Honey, we’re not strangers anymore. We’re your strange Internet friends. We’re all mothers, and we all do the dirty sometimes, ok?”

FemmeFataleFun as the Sex Toy Peddler. “Smooches. Everything in that care package is therapeutic, kitten!”

mommyshidinginthebathroom3 as The Token Mommy Blogger. “Let her smoke, Marcella. It’s been six weeks. You can kick her ass about the cigarettes in six months.”

ilikeherbooty-full as The Porn Blogger Who Won’t Go Away. “Is this what women really talk about when men aren’t around, or are you doing it all for me?

Caspian00XO as His Friend Who Hears About the Pie. “Susan? Do I get pie now? I’m emailing you my address.”

Reza as Susan’s Love Interest. “This is my telephone number. As soon as I leave, you will type it into your phone. And you will send me a text. It will say, ‘Reza, this is Sooo-zaaaahn.’ If you don’t send me this text, I will assume I offended you and will need to quit my job so I don’t offend you again, so it is very important that you send this text. Yes, Soo-zahn?”

with cameos by

John as The Cheating Husband, Jewel of The Not-So- Spectacular-Boobs as The Other Woman, an assortment of lurkers, trolls, spammers, “Internet idiots,” and casual visitors, Reza’s invisible roommates, and The Lawyer.

a “MISTRESS OF HER OWN DOMAIN” novella

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:

Amazon <3 Kobo <3 iTunes/iBooks <3 Barnes & Noble <3 Google Play <3 Inside Romance <3 Smashwords <3 Chapters (Canada) <3 Powell's Books (US) <3 Book Depository (Globally)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M. JANE COLETTE writes tragedy for people who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for women and men who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres.

Sign up for Jane’s love letter/newsletter-- ROUGH DRAFT CONFESSIONS—and visit her at mjanecolette.com. She also hangs out on Twitter & Instagram as @mjanecolette, and on
Facebook @mjanecolette2.

In addition to Cherry Pie Cure, she’s the author of the (unconventional) romances Tell Me, an erotic romance for people who like a little bit of angst with their hot sex, and Consequences (of defensive adultery), an erotic tragedy (!) with a happy ending. Her non-fiction work includes Rough Draft Confessions: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside insight anyway, a collection  of essays about writing dirty, the power of words, taboo language, the freedoms and limitations of genre, fulfilling your creative drive, and the business of writing.

Want to find out how Cherry Pie Cure got written? Check out How a story is born on M Jane Colettes author blog.

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Release Review ~ Hot Cop ~ Laurelin Paige & Sierra Simone #2017NewRelease

Hot CopHot Cop by Laurelin Paige & Sierra Simone
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I won an ARC in a giveaway hosted by Ms Paige. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
You have the right to remain sexy.

Anything you say can and will be used to get you in my bed.

You have the right to use my body to give yourself a delirious, life-changing orgasm.

If you have trouble...don't worry. I'm a bit of an expert in that department.

There's nothing 'thin' about my blue line, if you catch my drift, and trust me, I know how to put those handcuffs to good use.

***

Livia Ward wants a baby before she's thirty. And even though Officer Chase Kelly is exactly the kind of cocky jerk this librarian has sworn off, he is undeniably hot. Both of them think they can give each other what they want--a few nights of fun for Officer Kelly, a no-strings baby for Livia--but this hot cop is about to learn that sex, babies, and love don't always play by the rules.




I have to admit that at a certain point into Hot Cop, I was thinking it was simply a fun story. Yeah, it was a bit predictable and contained some extremely hot smexy scenes along with some pretty great characters but still... just some fluffy fun. Then at a point just a bit further in, it got deeper, there was character growth on the part of both MCs, and Hot Cop became "more" than simple fun. And I enjoyed the heck out of it!

Livia - she started out as this smart, funny, quirky librarian who had some odd fears, in my opinion, but who could also take a stance on social or political issues at any moment. I loved her bookworm ways, having shelves sagging under the weight of her collection, as well as her stacks of books on various horizontal surfaces. I loved her dedication to her patrons, particularly teens, and her loyalty to her friends. I also loved watching the change in her as Chase bulldozed his way through all her defensive walls. Oh, and she had a great sense of humor too.

Chase - he was a guy that most considered Officer Good Times. He was a good copy, did his job well, but let his job rule his life having decided early on that there wasn't a place for anything else but the job in his life. I enjoyed seeing how he changed as he and Livia got closer. And I adored watching him with her as well as his family - grandpa, sister, and his two young nephews.

The elements that added depth - family, the description of a police officer's life, the social commentary on a specific means of increasing safety for both police officers and civilians (both sides discussed) - made a fun story so much more. And all this on top of witnessing Chase and Livia teach each other that love was a risk worth taking - in fact, it makes life worth living.

This was my first experience with Paige and Simone. *gasp* I know! I have several - possibly most if not all - books from both their backlists though and believe me when I tell y'all you'll be seeing more of them here. They impressed me and I'm anxious to see what else they can offer me - both individually and as a team!



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review ~ Rocky Mountain Heat ~ Vivian Arend #ShelfLove

Rocky Mountain Heat (Six Pack Ranch Book 1)Rocky Mountain Heat by Vivian Arend
Six Pack Ranch #1
Release Date: August 21, 2009
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie 
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
He's the one who taught her to ride. Now all he wants is to ride her.

Black Coleman is old enough to know that acting on impulse causes nothing but trouble. But when trouble's a western-hat-wearing blonde with slim legs that go on forever, what's a man to do? Wanting the sweet girl next door is just wrong. The responsible thing to do is keep his hands off.

Jaxi has other plans for Blake's hands, and his heart. She may have once considered him a big brother, but that was a long time ago. She's all grown up now and ready to convince him that she's perfect for him. Except he can't seem to see past the big "don't touch" sign that's apparently still hanging around her neck.

When Jaxi ends up living right under Blake's nose, the undeniable heat between them slides off simmer and leaps up to barn-burning levels. However, a few of the younger six-pack Colemans have decided Jaxi's brand of trouble is worth risking a few busted bones.

That is, if Blake's finally ready to let go of the reins and fight for what he wants...

Warning: Sexy cowboys seducing and being seduced in trucks, pool halls and barns. Droolworthy country charm, a little double-teaming, a few secrets and a whole lot of brothers to look forward to. Anyone wanna go for a ride?




I'd had Rocky Mountain Heat on my ereader forever but finally decided to add it to my Take Control of Your TBR list (back in March) after seeing JoLee's 5-star review of it @WickedDeliciousBookBlog. It's a friends-to-lovers romance and since that's a favorite trope of mine, I was excited. 

Blake and Jaxi have been friends since childhood since they are neighbors and she, an only child, hung out at the Coleman house with the six boys quite often. Problem is, Blake is 10 years older than Jaxi and he feels like, now that their age-difference shouldn't be a big deal, it still is, no matter what she's making him feel. Jaxi though, she's wanted Blake since...well, forever. And she's quite tenacious.

It was fun watching Jaxi "set her trap" so to speak and Blake gets all caught in it. These two are so good together despite the age difference - probably because they're both the oldest child, even if Jaxi doesn't have siblings. She's always wanted to be a rancher's wife - and she and Blake work well side-by-side.

Rocky Mountain Heat also introduced the other 5 Coleman brothers - with little glimpses into the lives/romances of a few. Arend incorporated just enough to get me interested in them without overpowering the main story - Jaxi and Blake. I think each of the boys' stories are going to be fun, learning more about them, with the exception of Travis. I think his story might be a bit dark. The twins though - I'm eager for their story.

Rocky Mountain Heat was a good read. Arend's writing is easy to read with a nice flow. Her characters are well drawn and she has me invested in the Coleman family. The heat level was just right as well. I look forward to diving into more of Arend's work - I have quite a few accumulated. ;)



Monday, June 12, 2017

Can You Read a Series in a Month? Review #1 ~ Clipped Wings ~ Helena Hunting


Berls @Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @Because Reading hosted this challenge last year and I really wanted to participate but just couldn't do it. THIS YEAR, I'm in! For all the details on the challenge, click the graphic above.


***

The first book in the Clipped Wings series is a novella, Cupcakes and Ink. For my review, click here. I re-read it this month but didn't re-review it. ;) While it isn't absolutely necessary to read Cupcakes and Ink, it really does set the stage well for Hayden and Tenley's story.


Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting
Clipped Wings #1
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Gallery Books via Netgalley. I also won a signed copy in a giveaway. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, Can You Read a Series in a Month?, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn't ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley's past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side...or run?




"Everyone has scars, Tenley. If we're lucky, they're only on the outside." -Hayden
After reading Cupcakes and Ink, I knew I was invested in Tenley and Hayden. I adored them, empathized with them each individually and I was so very anxious over what they were each dealing with - the scars they both carried on the outside and the inside. As they became better acquainted and I, therefore, got to know them better, my heart broke for them both.
"I hadn't considered the possibility that I might find someone who would understand what I had endured and want me anyway, even though I wasn't whole." -Tenley 
I think these two are soul mates because it felt like their souls must have recognized in the other the mutual pain and guilt they each were burdened with. It bought them into each others' orbit and both were loathe to let the other go. But they were both hiding things from the other. Despite them both having reason for it, the secrets threatened their bond. They did bring out the best in each other though. It was juts difficult to decide whether they could risk their hearts again.

You know the saying about how you'll never have more heaped on your plate than you can handle? Well, these two have had quite the heaping but they've proven their strength by surviving. And it seems they have a bit more to deal with before they can have some happy.

I hate that I've let such an incredibly written and emotionally draining book languish on my shelf. I've already started book #1.5 though. I still *have* to know where Tenley and Hayden go from here.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

My TBR List ~ June ~ And the Winner is...

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Thanks to everyone for voting! The winner for this month is:


World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)World After
Penryn & the End of Days #2

Synopsis
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?



Check back on the 24th for my review!

Friday, June 9, 2017

New Release Review ~ No One But You ~ Brenda Novak (@BrendaNovak) #2017NewRelease

No One But You (Silver Springs, #2)No On But You by Brenda Novak
Silver Springs #2
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn't enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options.

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he's innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs.

As Sadie and Dawson's professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there's more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees he has a good heart, on that might even be worth fighting for.




My second visit to Silver Springs was utterly satisfying. No One But You delivered a compelling story with fully-realized characters. I was tense, worrying over how things would work out, but I also was "melty" over Dawson, Sadie, and Jayden. *sigh*

Sadie Harris is doing her darnedest to gain her independence, her freedom, from her soon-to-be ex-husband and create a life for herself and her 5 year old son, Jayden. It's not easy since she's been unable to find a decent paying job and her ex is having problems letting go. When she applies for a position with Dawson Reed, she's apprehensive. After all, Dawson was accused of murdering his parents. But he was acquitted. And this job would really benefit Sadie's future.

There was something - a pull? - between Sadie and Dawson from the get-go. But neither of them were in a good spot to start up a relationship. And Sadie's issues soon became Dawson's, since her ex is a cop. These two had already endured so much but as they got closer, it was clear they had something special. Maybe because they both believed in the other? I admired them both - Sadie for using her wits in dealing with her ex and Dawson for being so determined to find justice. They were both hard working and together they were stronger. I liked what they brought out in the other - they were equals in the relationship, professional and personal - and that was especially good for Sadie.

The suspense over trying to figure out whether Dawson would clear his name and over an incident with Sadie kept me glued to the pages. On top of that, the worry over what Sadie's ex was going to do next and if he'd get away with it had me tied in knots. Especially since it seemed Sadie and Dawson were on their own where law enforcement was concerned.

I really like how Novak inserted commentary on how people are "tried and convicted" by the media these days as well as demonstrating that not all law enforcement are good, nor are they all bad. It was relevant and added that much more depth to Sadie and Dawson's story.

I'm very eager for my next visit to Silver Springs, a town and community I'm coming to really like.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Guest Post ~ 7 Highly Practical Tips To Read More Effectively ~ Anitya Brown (@HookedtoBooks)

Hey y'all, I have a guest post from Anitya Brown today. I found Anitya @ChapterBreak where she did a guest post on 10 reasons why she's in love with her ereader. And today she's sharing some tips on reading more effectively. Enjoy!

7 Highly Practical Tips To Read More Effectively


We all know how to read, but not everyone knows how to read effectively.
Sometimes we stare at a book and turn the pages unconsciously for hours. But after we finish, we can’t recall what is discussed.
Photo credit: Pixabay
How to start understanding the book for real while we read?
How to yield and recall the knowledge we learn from the book?
This article covers the seven easy, practical tips to help you read with efficiency, comprehension, and pleasure.

1. Bring your book/ereader everywhere

It’s not always easy to devote the time to finish your book. While it’s nice to enjoy a novel for two hours straight in a peaceful night, there are always days when you get home and all you want to do is crash right into bed to sleep.
The solution? Bring your book or ereader everywhere with you. Make use of the small chunks of time between your major tasks during the day to read. Open your book while you’re on the train, or when you’re waiting for someone at a cafe.

Some books can be quite difficult and require full concentration and a longer consecutive time period to digest. If the time blocks are too short for reading, use them to reinforce the concepts you encounter during the previous read. That way, the next time you sit down to continue with the book, you don’t have to spend time going through everything again.

2. Avoid distractions

Ever caught your mind wandering somewhere else while your eyes are gazing on the book? When you read, make sure you are really there.

If you can, choose a quiet, peaceful place to read. Turn the TV off. Refrain from checking Instagram or Facebook halfway through a page. Put your phone on silent mode, or better yet, out of sight. Don’t surf forever for a concept on Google.
Photo credit: George Hodan

You can apply the Pomodoro technique to your reading plan. Make a small oath to yourself to focus on reading in 25 minutes, then take a rest for 5 minutes. When coming across unfamiliar words or some new concepts, highlight them to check later during the resting time, and keep reading. If you’re on an ereader, use the built in dictionary or the X-Ray function very briefly.

When you concentrate, it’s easier to both notice the small details and get the big pictures. You will not only read faster but also understand the content much better.


3. Know when to give up

If you’re reading for pleasure, always remember the “pleasure” part. When you come across a book that you find unpleasant or too tricky to read, don’t feel guilty to toss it aside.

Give it a try for a dozen pages at most. If you read till page 10 and still fail to find anything appealing, don’t be too hopeful that you will somehow be fascinated by the next pages. Save your time for quality books that are not a pain to read.
Credit: Worak

No need to put up with the torture even if you’re using the book for study. Go through the parts that you can understand, and take notes of the ones you don’t click with. Find another book of the same topic that explains things in a way more interesting and comprehensive to you. Yes, such books are almost always available in your library or at the bookstore!

4. Take notes at the right time

Always have at least a pen while you read (unless you read on an ereader).
When encountering new concepts or ideas, highlight or jot them down for later research. If a related question or idea comes across your mind, write it down on the side of the page or on your notebook before you forget it. Use only a few words to describe your ideas - don’t distract yourself from the book by taking notes!
Photo credit: Buenosia Carol

At the end of every chapter, try to make a brief summary of what is discussed. Once you’ve finished the book, re-collect all of the notes, questions, ideas, and summaries. You can write a short essay to reflect on what information you’ve retrieved, and your ideas and thoughts on the book. This not only helps to reinforce your understanding of the book, but also allows you to get a clearer look at the large picture.

5. Take advantage of technology

Technology sounds like distractions, but used in the right way, it can boost your speed, comprehension, and efficiency in reading.
For example, instead of a physical book, try reading an ebook on a professional eink device. All ereaders come with built-in dictionaries that can show you the definition of a word immediately. Some ereaders even go as far as saving the word search history and make flashcards out of them for you to review later on. In addition, they also allow you to search for concepts on Wikipedia without leaving your book. That helps you comprehend better with much less time spent.
Photo Credit: Atirador

Being tech savvy makes reading more flexible for you too. If you have a Kindle app on a voice-enabled device, try Whispersync for Voice to switch seamlessly between an ebook and its audio version. Never put down a book you’re enjoying to do the laundry anymore - you can continue by listening to it.

6. Discuss the book

The best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. However, you don’t always have to give a lecture about what you’re reading.

Instead, pick some ideas you find intriguing from the book and discuss them with people you know are interested. If you’re reading about new economic policies, for example, talk about it with your entrepreneur friends.

Your discussion partners may ask you to clarify some points, and you will find out very quickly if you don’t truly understand the book. They may expand your knowledge by giving their own input and introducing more ideas and books on the related topic. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

7. Be consistent

To read effectively, a little bit of consistency is required.

It’s best to set a fixed time to read every day. Read during the 30 minutes of cool down after your weight lifting session in the afternoon, for instance. That way, after a short while, your body and mind will be accustomed to the activity. They will anticipate, and get themselves down for a read right as the time arrives.

If it’s too hard to set a fixed time, make a goal of the number of pages to read instead. Get yourself to read 20 pages a day, for example.  Stick to your goal, and try to finish it as early in the day as possible, before everything else takes up all of your time and energy.

You may find it hard to switch to the book from other activities at first. However, if you keep doing it, you will train yourself to be a master. After a month or two, it will become much easier for you to gain concentration to the content within a short period of time.

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Anitya is a full-time nooblogger from Hooked To Books, a blog dedicated to book and reading gadget reviews. She aspires to make the reading time the highlight of the day for everyone by sharing her reading tips, introducing interesting books, and reviewing gadgets that provide comfort and enhance reading efficiency.
You can find her on Twitter, and Facebook.