Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: Every Man a King by Chris Stirewalt

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Stand Alone
Format: AudioBook
Rating: 4 Stars 
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Twelve

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

From Fox News' politics editor Chris Stirewalt -- a fun and lively account of America's populist tradition, from Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt, to Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Donald Trump.

Whatever the ideological fad of the moment, American populism has always been home to a fascinating assortment of charismatic leaders, characters, kooks, cranks, and sometimes charlatans who have - with widely varying degrees of success - led the charge of ordinary folks who have gotten wise to the ways of the swamp.

This attitude of skeptical resentment also makes populism a fertile field for the work of conspiracy theorists and other enthusiastic apostates from civic convention. After all, if the people in power are found to be rigging one part of the system, why not the rest?


EVERY MAN A KING tells the stories of America's populist leaders, from an elderly Andrew Jackson brutally caning his would-be-assassin, to William Jennings Bryan's pre-speech routine that combined equally prodigious quantities of prayer and food, to Ross Perot's military-style campaign that made even volunteers wear badges with stars to show rank. It is a rollicking history of an American attitude that has shaped not only our current moment, but also the long struggle over who gets to define the truths we hold to be self evident.

Review

I ended up enjoying this. It is what Mr. Stirewalt said it was-popcorn history. It is short and easy to digest. 

I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Stirewalt. He can be a little pretentious which he does own. But he also does know his history. We both are not the biggest fans of populism. It was interesting to read about populism over the course of American history-most of which I didn't know about. 

This book was definitely inspired by the rise and election of Trump in 2016. He does address this and how it connects to the populism of the past. But he doesn't dwell on Trump and the current situation in America. I for one, am grateful for that.

This was a fun, easy read. I'm glad I listened to the audiobook and would recommend it.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, January 14, 2019

Review: Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

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Series: Georgina Kincaid Book #3
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library
Genre: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

First, Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men, can't have sex with her gorgeous bestselling author boyfriend Seth Mortensen--in case she inadvertently kills him. Second, Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block. Third, someone's manipulating her dreams, draining her energy and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused--especially as the situation with Seth reaches a crisis point. Georgina needs to rein in her out-of-control love life and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again.

Review

I wasn't planning on reviewing this, but it's eating me a live. I saw the ending coming and it really pisses me off. I understand drama and tension is needed, but I hate this particular version of that.

OK, I'm going to stop avoiding spoilers.

Spoilers ahead!!!

The minute Maddie showed up I I knew it would turn into some sort of love triangle. I literally stopped reading for a couple weeks because this type of storyline just really bothers me.

And honestly, I'm really mad at Seth. I'm assuming this is going to be some sort of "I hurt you to protect you" thing. But right now I'm really angry.

There are still three books to go. I want to keep reading, but I'm not sure I have the mental ability to handle this twisted love triangle for three books.

This was probably less review and more vent session.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, January 11, 2019

Review: By the Hour by Roni Loren

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Series: Pleasure Principle Book #2
Format: ebook
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica-esque
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.

Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.

After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services? 

Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.

Review

This was a great way to start 2019. I'm in love with Roni Loren's writing and characters. I don't even know what to say. 

This is an interesting story. In some ways it reminds me of Lilah Pace's Asking For It. They both address sexuality, sexual kinks, and explore what all of that means.

I don't want to go too much into content, because this is a book you should just read in my opinion. The heroine's journey and how sex plays a roll in that was probably my favorite part of the book. Ms. Loren does a spectacular job of writing a cold woman who is understandable and empathetic. Women in romance are often more criticized then the men which is sad, but also makes this writing even better. 

The hero was great and easy to love. I'm not sure I fully understand his job, but I will do some research because it is interesting.

Sorry for the vagueness. I read this with no info and think that's a great way to read it.

Highly recommend!!!

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Review: The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton

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Series: Duke's Behaving Badly Book #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

When Miss Lily Russell crosses the threshold of the Duke of Rutherford’s stylish townhouse, she knows she has come face to face with sensual danger. For this is no doting papa. Rather, his behavior is scandalous, and his reputation rightly earned. And his pursuit of her is nearly irresistible—but resist she must for the sake of her pupil.

As for the duke himself, it was bad enough when his unknown child landed on his doorstep. Now Lily, with her unassuming beauty, has aroused his most wicked fantasies—and, shockingly, his desire to change his wanton ways. He’s determined to become worthy of her, and so he asks for her help in correcting his behavior. 

But Lily has a secret, one that, if it becomes known, could change everything… 

Review

So, this was a book I read.

I'm awful at starting reviews.

This was a decent book, but I'm glad I got it from the library. It is also my first Megan Frampton book. While this book didn't do anything special for me, I would read another book by her.

The characters were interesting in concept, but failed a little in execution. I never fully connected with them. I wouldn't say they are 1-dimensional, but not completely developed: maybe 2D. Marcus-the hero-really interested me. He has a compelling backstory, plus he likes cats! Lily was a good character. But she was described as working in a brothel, but not "working" in a brothel like 5 too many times. It's probably a small thing, but it really got on my nerves. 

If this book interests you, I would get it, but maybe from the library.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, January 7, 2019

Review: Flare Up by Shannon Stacey

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Series: Boston Fire Book #6
Format: ebook
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Nursing a broken heart while everybody around him seems to be drowning in happiness has Grant Cutter wondering whether staying with Engine 59—or even Boston Fire—is in his future. It’s tempting as hell to pack up what fits in his Jeep and hit the road. But then a 911 call brings the woman who shattered his heart back into his life, and he knows he won’t ever be able to fully leave her in his rearview mirror.

For a few months, Wren Everett had thought the nightmare of her past was behind her and she might live happily ever after with Grant. Until she got the phone call letting her know the time her ex had spent in jail for assault hadn’t cooled his temper or determination that she belonged with him. Cutting ties with Grant was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but it was also the only way to keep him safe.

Now that Grant is back, he’s not letting Wren push him away again. And even with the trust issues between them, Wren dares to hope she and Grant might have a future together after all…if they’re willing to fight for it. 

Review

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

I was so excited about this book and was pumped when NetGalley approved me for an e-ARC. 

Shannon Stacy is a fantastic writer. I love the world she has built in the Boston Fire series. Not enough people talk about world building in romance. So I was already invested in these characters. But this is also a reunited-lovers story. That is my favorite trope. 

Grant was a great hero. He's justifiably a little standoffish when he first reconnects with Wren, but he isn't the jaded hero who shows up all the time in romance novels. I love reading about male characters who are open to being in a relationship. 

Wren is actually the more withdrawn character. I really liked reading her journey and growth.

They were a fun couple. And I like the push and pull of their interactions as they reconnect. It is a different dynamic than you see in a lot of romance. That's probably why I love this trope so much.

I have a really tiny issue wiht this book. And it's probably a personal issue. Grant's best friend's name is Gavin. These names are just too similar for me. I kept confusing who was who. Like even when writing this I had to look up the hero's name to make sure I got it right. I haven't read Gavin's book (it's the only one I haven't read in this series) so maybe reading that will help. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The ending had a feeling of being a series ending which would make me sad. I really like these characters. At least Ms. Stacey has other books I can read to get me by.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, January 4, 2019

Review: Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix

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Series: Chemistry Lessons #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Haver Street Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

College student Melody Gage is craving a night of no-strings fun when she meets charming out-of-towner Jeremy, and that’s exactly what she gets. Until three years later, when Melody relocates to Los Angeles and finds herself thrust back into Jeremy’s orbit. 

Not only does her hunky one-night stand work at the same aerospace company where she’s just started her dream job, he’s the CEO’s son. Jeremy’s got a girlfriend and a reputation as a bad boy, so Melody resolves to keep her distance. Despite her good intentions, a series of awkward circumstances—including an embarrassing crying jag, a latte vs. computer catastrophe, and an emergency fake date—throw her together with the heavenly-smelling paragon of hotness. 

As the billionaire playboy and nerdy IT girl forge an unlikely friendship, Melody’s attraction to Jeremy grows deeper than she’s ready to admit. Will she risk it all for a shot at her happy ending?

The debut novel from author Susannah Nix, Remedial Rocket Science follows in the tradition of contemporary romantic comedy favorites like Penny Reid, Sally Thorne, and Jennifer Crusie. This lighthearted slow burn romance is the first in a series of standalone rom-coms featuring geeky heroines who work in STEM fields.

Review

I don't remember where or how I first heard about this book, but I do remember buying it right away. My sister is a Professor and big into STEM. So, I was interested in the story, but I also wondered if it was a romance novel she might have interest in.

And I ended up a little disappointed. Melody was a decent character and not a super stereotypical "smart" girl. Sometimes she seemed a little whiny which bothered me. Jeremy, the hero, was a good guy. He probably would've been better if the story was written in dual POV. But I always prefer dual POV in my romance. 

The story was a little more dramatic than I was expecting. Like kind of soap opera drama. And there was some cheating. I really don't like cheating. In this tory it was just really glossed over like it wasn't an issue. That just bothers me.

The romance was relatively cute, but overall this felt very bleh. I probably won't keep reading the series which is sad, but that's the truth.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

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Series: Georgina Kincaid Book #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Kensington

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical? 

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid's life is far less exotic. At least there's her day job at a local bookstore--free books;all the white chocolate mochas she can drink;and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can't. 

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle's demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won't help because Georgina's about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny. . . 

Review

A few years ago I had heard of this series. And I really enjoyed Richelle Mead's other books, especially the Bloodlines series. So, I finally got this from the library.

Generally, I would say I enjoyed this story. But it is nothing like I had expected.

There is a lot of serious stuff going on, but there was also a lot of humor. Georgina has a good amount of sass to her. There's also a strong ensemble of side characters.

I haven't ever read a story about a succubus. I have watched the TV show Lost Girl. The mythology is interesting and I'm eager to learn more about the world and characters.

There is a romance-which I expect to have a slow burn. However, there wasn't a lot of actual burn. There was banter, but I'm really only seeing the romance because of the synopsis. But I'm not opposed to Georgina and that guy getting together.

I've already gotten the rest of the series from the library and am eager to see where the story goes.

Thanks for reading!
Holly