Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Review: As Long As You Love Me by Luann McLane

36102966
Series: Heartthrob Book #4
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Jesse Heart is usually the life of the party, especially on the dance floor. So when he offers to be dancer Ava Mayor’s partner in a local fundraising competition for the Sea Breeze Performing Arts Center, he thinks it’s going to be a cakewalk. But hip-hop doesn’t exactly translate to tango—Ava’s area of expertise—and Jesse has trouble taking ballroom seriously.

Although Jesse’s comedic antics get under Ava’s skin, the more time they spend together in rehearsal, the more they come to realize that they’re not so different after all. And with Ava’s passion for technicality and Jesse’s raw talent, it doesn’t take long for this couple to start dancing their way into each other’s arms... and hearts.

Perfect for fans of Step Up, Backstreet Boys, and New Kids on the Block, this fun and sexy finale to the Heartthrob series will have you pulling your old boy band shirts out of your closet and dancing all night long.

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. In the beginning, I got a little worried. But then I really got into it and cared about these characters. Part of the problem is that I'm pretty critical of dance books because I am a lifelong dancer. But this was handled fairly well. It probably helps that I don't know a ton about the world of Ballroom Dance.

Overall, this was a light, fun, and funny story. The hero, Jesse, is the goofy guy from the boy band he was in. So, he brings a lot of that fun and breaks up a lot of the tense situations. He also isn't afraid of his emotions like some heroes which was a nice change. Ava, the heroine, is much more straight-laced and kind of uptight. I understand that kind of behavior and I liked seeing her develop.

The romance was nice. Jesse and Ava had an immediate attraction, but didn't just jump into bed. That can have merit, but I think slower romances tend to be more believable. And I enjoyed reading about them just talking/dancing.

I believe this is the last book in this series. And I do want to read the other books because I'm curious about Jesse's brothers and their romances.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie

30301147
Series: The Raging Ones 
Format: e-ARC
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I have to review this, but I don't know what to say. I really enjoyed it and am a total fangirl of Krista and Becca Ritchie.This is their first YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy so I didn't know what to expect. I also didn't read the synopsis first.

Now, if you already like the Ritchies' writing, I think you'll like this. It has a good found-family story which they are very good at writing. It also feels different in tone from other YA books just like their New adult books feel different than other NA.

There are three alternating POVs. Normally, I don't like anything beyond two-one of the reasons I rarely read high-fantasy-but this did work for me. They are three distinct people with easy to identify voices. Franny, the only girl-was my favorite, but I do like all of them.

I don't want to talk too much about the plot because I want to avoid any and all spoilers. The world is interesting and easy to picture-the writing is very cinematic. And the whole knowing the day you are going to die raised questions. It actually really made me think about the moral and ethical ramifications of having that kind of knowledge.

There is a slight romance, but it's probably like plot D. I did like it and am rooting for those tow, but I am more invested in the friendship between the 3 main characters. It is an evolving and real friendship. I particularly like reading how they interact as a group and each "pairing". These kinds of relationships are fun to read.

The book has a good amount of mystery/secrecy to keep you engaged and guessing. I was often confused, but in a good way. And the ending left me wanting more. Even though this felt like three books in one-again, in a good way-I have no idea how the Ritchies will wrap this story up in one more books. But you know I'll be there to find out. 

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

110386
Series: The Bridgertons Book #4
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 372
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Sir Phillip knew from  his correspondence with his dead wife's distant cousin that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he'd proposed, figuring that she'd be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn't. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her...

Eloise Bridgerton couldn't marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking... and wondering... and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except... he wasn't. Her perfect husband wouldn't be so moody and ill-mannered. And he certainly should have mentioned that he had two young - and decidedly unruly - children, as much in need of a mother as Phillip is in need of a wife.

Review

This was a very fun read. Ms. Quinn deals with some serious issues like depression and suicide, but it's still a very sweet story.

I liked both Eloise and Phillip. Eloise is very chatty which I identify with. She's also very opinionated and doesn't take anyone's crap. Phillip has some anger issues, but unlike some romance heroes he attempts to control himself. And even though he struggles, he wants to be a good father. I think those are very admirable traits.

The romance was cute. It was a nice blend of organic and fast-paced. Although I am a sucker for stories with letter writing. It's probably the Jane Austen fan in me. And Ms. Quinn did a good job of showing the struggles in a marriage/relationship.

I'm not the biggest fan of kids in books/romances. I believe Sarah Wendell calls them plot moppets. They weren't fully developed, but did feel real enough while advancing the plot and character development in others. In the end, I liked them.

This was a re-read, but I don't remember how I felt the first time I read it. Sometimes series can start to drag when they get this far a long, but this was a nice surprise.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review: Studly Period by Sarina Bowen

39077038

Series: The Ivy Years Book #5.5
Format: Newsletter Serial (for now)
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Sarina Bowen's Serial
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?

It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?

A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.

When Pepe Gerault sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.
I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

Review

I wasn't sure if I should review this or not. But since Ms. Bowen will be publishing the serial I figured it would be a good idea.

This is a cute story about Josie and Pepe who is a hockey player at Harkness College. Since Pepe is French Canadian, it's only in Josie's POV. Ms. Bowen said it wouldn't have felt right to write Pepe in English. Of course I miss having the hero's POV, but I appreciate the artistic choice. And the language barrier added a fun and comedic element to the story.

The romance was very cute. I'm not always a fan of a meek heroine, but Josie worked for me. She's very self-aware and funny when she let's herself go. Pepe is so kind and sweet. He works very well with Josie as a complement and brings her out of her shell.

And it was great to be back at Harkness. I love this world and it feels like coming home. So, of course I'm super gushy about this story and the characters.

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

5364

Series: Outlander Book #2
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 743
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bantam

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...

Review

It took a few months, but I finally finished this. Overall, I liked the story, but it seemed to drag a little in the middle or 75% through. There was one chapter with fighting that was so long and agonizing to read. But I enjoyed the portion in France and the ending made me want to pick up the next book.

I do have some issues with the narrative style. I would prefer a 3rd person instead of 1st person from Claire. That is personal preference. But in the "present" there would be times it would switch to 3rd person-even mid-chapter. That just really confused me.

I do not hard-core love Jamie and Claire like a lot of people. But I do love and care about a lot of the side characters. They don't show up often, but Jamie's sister and brother-in-law are favorites. Murtagh is also a great character even though he's often silent.

One of my favorite characters was mentioned at the end which is what really makes me want to keep reading. Partially, because I loved that action in the show and want them to come back.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Sunday, June 10, 2018

May Wrap-up (2018)

There was definitely a slow-down in my reading this month. Mostly, this was because I'm now working longer hours so I'm more tired when I get home and have less time to read. Hell, I'm barely keeping up with my chores and keeping my apartment clean.

I've also been pretty busy planning a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law. I had two charity walks-1 I volunteered at and 1 I walked in. They were for the MS Society and Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis. Additionally, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. So, I've been going to appointments with her and a little stressed.

But I'm still happy with my reading. And I finished Dragonfly in Amber finally! That is a huge accomplishment that I'm very proud of.

Here's the list of books I read and their ratings:

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton-2 Stars
110384

Hot and Badgered-4 Stars
35534548

Studly Period-5 Stars
39077038

Near & Far-DNF
17937144

Dragonfly in Amber-4 Stars
5364

To Sir Phillip with Love-4 Stars
110386

The Raging Ones-5 Stars
30301147

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, June 8, 2018

Book Review: Hot & Badgered by Shelly Laurenston


Series: Honey Badger Chronicles Book #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher:Kensington

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

Review

This book is a whole bunch of crazy-in a good way. I mean it's full of all kinds of shape-shifters and the main character and one of her sisters are both people of color.

It was also very funny. Both the dialogue is funny and there's situational comedy. There are still pretty serious situations along with some suspense, but the humor was really fun. One of the sisters kept hiding in cabinets and it was interesting to see where/when she would show up. 

The romance was pretty subtle and very cute. It was always the secondary story line, but you still felt the chemistry between Berg and Charlie. Sometimes, in paranormal romances-especially shifter stories-the romance can feel forced or rushed. Ms. Laurenston included characteristics from their animals, while also making the romance believable.

My only issue was that I would get confused sometimes. There are so many different types of shifters and characters constantly coming or going. I would have just liked a list of characteristics and their relationships to one another to keep them straight. 

I don't know when the next book will come out, but I'll read it. I assume the series will be at least 3 books-each one featuring one of the sisters. They are interesting in their own ways so I'm curious to know more about them.

Thanks for reading!
Holly