Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: The Seduction of Elliott McBride by Jennifer Ashley

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Series: Mackenzies and McBrides Book #5
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 291
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensations

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Juliana St. John was raised to be very proper. After a long engagement, her wedding day dawns—only for Juliana to find herself jilted at the altar.

Fleeing the mocking crowd, she stumbles upon Elliot McBride, the tall, passionate Scot who was her first love. His teasing manner gives her an idea, and she asks Elliot to save her from an uncertain future—by marrying her…

After escaping brutal imprisonment, Elliot has returned to Scotland a vastly wealthy yet tormented man. Now Juliana has her hands full restoring his half-ruined manor in the Scottish Highlands and trying to repair the broken heart of the man some call irredeemably mad. Though beautiful and spirited, Juliana wonders if that will be enough to win a second chance at love.
 
 Review
 
This book had a lot of my catnip in it. Plus, I really enjoy Jennifer Ashley's writing.
 
This combines two tropes: marriage of convenience-which is a favorite-and unrequited love-which I don't like so much. But they worked very well together here. It probably helps that they both always loved the other.
 
Juliana was a fabulous heroine. She's strong, intelligent, and open-minded. She's a big list-maker which I connect with. And I really liked her relationship with her step mother. It's really easy to go full Cinderella with step parents.
 
Elliot had a lot of the characteristics I like. He is physically scared, but more interestingly, has PTSD. That is a major conflict for him and I love watching him deal with it. He has to figure out how to fit the new Elliot into his old life.
 
The romance was good and you could feel the attraction between Elliott and Juliana. I certainly cared about them and liked reading about them figuring out what it means to be a couple. I believe in the power of love, but there may have been a bit too much of the idea that love will fix PTSD.
 
Overall, this was beautiful story and I would recommend it. This is a really good series, too.
 
Thanks for reading!
Holly 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Mortal Heart by Morgan LaFevers

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Series: His Fair Assassin Book #1
Format:Paperback
Pages: 444
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift
Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...
  
 
Review
 
Here's another book I've been putting off reading. And now that I'm writing this review. And now that I'm writing this, I don't know what to write.
 
As my rating suggests, I enjoyed this book. Annith was an interesting and compelling character. I enjoyed reading from her perspective even though the lord knows I don't like first person books. And I do like seeing more of the relationship between the three ladies.
 
The romance was fairly compelling. I won't be super spoilery, but I did figure out what I would call the mystery. I am a little conflicted about the romance between these two even though I enjoyed the chemistry between them.
 
I don't read a lot of books in this genre, but I have enjoyed them. I will continue to read Robin LaFevers books as they come into my possession.
 
Thanks for reading!
Holly  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

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Stand Alone
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library (Overdrive)
Genre:Young Adult Contemporary 
Publisher: Harper Teen


Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
 
Review
 
Look, I finally read a Kacie West book.  And I enjoyed it. There was a little bit of a Miranda Kenneally tone to it. Charlie is a lot like Kenneally's heroines, but a more likable.
 
I did really like Charlie's personal growth. She develops stronger empathy for others. And she grows into herself. She's a very typicall tomboy in the beginning. Then, she's exposed to make-up and girly girls. Through all of this, she blends "girly" into her life. It isn't a complete change, but exposes her to other options. And there are actually positive female friendships. I feel like you just don't see a lot of this in young adult.
 
The romance was cute. It was pretty drawn out and had a nice simmer to it. I'm not always a fan of friends-to-lovers stories (and I use lovers loosely here), but this one worked for me.
 
At the beginning, I was a little worried about this, but it came together. I'm glad I read it and will certainly read another Kasie West book in the future.
 
Thanks for reading!
Holly 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

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Series: Lords of hte Underworld Book #13
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
 
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him - until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever
 
 Review
 
Cameo has been a kind of mysterious character throughout this series so I was eager to read her story. And I was quickly invested in her story with Lazarus. But I will say this series is getting a little too big for me. Generally, I'm enjoying myself, but I'm forgetting who everone is and their relationships.
The romance was a bit too sexual for me. I've been saying that a lot lately, so I'm starting to wonder if it's me. I could tell they cared about each other and was cheering them on, but I did wish they would talk about sex less.

Lazarus was kind of a nice surprise. He had shown up earlier, but he was really developed here. And I found myself excited for chapters in his POV. not, that I didn't like Cameo, because I did.

Speaking of surprises-Viola. She came out swinging in this one. I know I complained about this series being too big, but I do want a book for her. this book. With just what I got in this book, she seems to be an interestingly complex character. Ms. Showalter does seem to be good at leaving bread crumbs like that.

I'm glad I read this and it was better than the previous book. I'm curious to see what happens in the next couple books. But I think I'm going to just focus on the romances instead of trying to keep track of the larger plot lines, like the Pandora's box stuff.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Idol by Kristen Callihan

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Series: VIP Book #1
Format:Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Plain Jane


Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
 Libby

I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian

As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse—and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything

Review
 
Generally, I'm not a fan of rockstar stories. I'm not even sure why. But I decided to give this a try because I've enjoyed other Kristen Callihan books. And I was pretty pleased.
 
 Libby was a nice play on the typical shy new adult heroine. She's an introvert, but that doesn't mean she hates people or can't have a potty mouth. And Killian is a lot like an alpha male, but not too over-the-top. he has a lot of sweet moments with Libby and his friends.
 
The romance was very sexual, but not rushed. These characters actually talked to each other and learned each other's personalities. I could've used less sex, but that's more of a personal preferance. 
 
Ms. Callihan  did address some sex-shaming and double standards when it comes to sexuality. I've been reading more of this which I appreciate. However, the "fighting back" was often biting toward other women. I don't hold it against her too much because this is a tough situation to deal with.
 
There were a bunch of great side characters in this book. I'm definitely interested in the whole band, Brenna, and Scottie. I don't know if they'll all get stories, but I hope they do. I've already borrowed the second one from the library.
 
Thanks for reading!
Holly
 
 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: The Year of the Crocodile by Courtney Milan

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Series: Cyclone Series Book 2.5
Format:Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Tina Chen and Blake Reynolds have been together for almost a year. In that time, they’ve grown closer on just about every front. The one exception? Blake’s father has never let anything stop him. Tina’s parents have never let anyone push them around. And they’ve never met.

That’s about to change. But don’t worry—fireworks are traditional at Chinese New Years.

Review

This isn't much to say about this novella. It was cute and probably set up a lot for the rest of the series. And my theory about Adam is holding strong. Although I don't know how that will pan out.

I would've like more Blake and Tina, but it is just a novella. And it was worth it to be able to see their parents interact.

Now it's just a matter of playing the waiting game for the next books. She's a slow writer, but her books are high quality.

Thanks for reading!
Holly 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: Hold Me by Courtney Milan

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Series: Cyclone Book #2
Format: ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Jay na Thalang is a demanding, driven genius. He doesn’t know how to stop or even slow down. The instant he lays eyes on Maria Lopez, he knows that she is a sexy distraction he can’t afford. He’s done his best to keep her at arm’s length, and he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

Maria has always been cautious. Now that her once-tiny, apocalypse-centered blog is hitting the mainstream, she’s even more careful about preserving her online anonymity. She hasn’t sent so much as a picture to the commenter she’s interacted with for eighteen months—not even after emails, hour-long chats, and a friendship that is slowly turning into more. Maybe one day, they’ll meet and see what happens.

But unbeknownst to them both, Jay is Maria’s commenter. They’ve already met. They already hate each other. And two determined enemies are about to discover that they’ve been secretly falling in love…

Review

I've kind of been putting off writing this. But I do want to record my thoughts. My thoughts come down to one word: conflicted.

Since this book was announced, I've been excited about it because of Maria. She was a trans-woman who has fully transitioned. I was excited because this is a completely different character for me. And in my life0I've only ever known one transperson. I wanted this book to expose me to new things and it really didn't. That's were the conflicted comes in. Her having transitioned is such a non-issue. Now, I'm a huge fan of what I call subtle diversity. this embodies that idea which is great, but I also feel a little robbed.

Other than that, I liked the characters. The romance was a little mediocre. I do like the friendship between Maria and Tina that carried over from the first book. This is a book that may improve on a re-read now that I know what to expect.

If you have any book suggestions of books with trans or post-transition characters let me know because I'm interested.

Thanks for reading!
Holly 
 

Monday, November 6, 2017

October Wrap-Up (2017)

Well October basically went the way I expected. I read/listed to four books. And two of them were very short.

But between going on vacation and overtime at work I wasn't feeling like reading a lot. And honestly I'm still feeling that way. So, November may be kind of an adventure.

Below are the books I read this month along with their ratings.

The Year We Fell Down- 4 Stars
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The Year of the Crocodile-4 Stars
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Hold Me-3 Stars
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The World According to Mr. Rogers-4 Stars
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Thanks for reading!
Holly