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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Audio Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Winter by Marissa MeyerWinter by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book 4
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest
Published by Macmillian Audio on 10 November 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 23 hrs and 30 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Atemesia, Luna

First Line(s): Winter’s toes had become ice cubes.

Sometimes I wonder why I acquire a print version of a book because if I start a book (or book series) on audio then I typically like to finish in that format. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that despite my wonderful secret sister giving me a signed copy of WINTER by Marissa Meyer I ended up buying the audio version from audible. WINTER is a long book (824 pgs) and as such the audio seemed to take me forever to get through. For me, I think that WINTER could have done with another round or two of editing as there was a lot of repetition and things that just weren’t really relevant to the story at hand. The bulk of the story also took place over just two days so it just seemed overly drawn out.

I also think that WINTER suffered from too many POVs. I can see if it stuck to the main cast but there were many that were one off and to me that just comes across as lazy story telling. I love multiple perspectives to get a well rounded story, I hate a switch in POV just because it makes something a little easier to tell. My heart also wept for all the mangled science in this book. Oh my poor poor scientific heart and just when I’d become able to ignore (kind of) the antidote/vaccine issue too. But poor science aside, I do think that WINTER was a decent end to a series. There were many a heart achy (because emotions not bad science) that kept me invested in this story and the characters. I also adored Winter and Jacin and was glad to see things from their perspective this time around.

Winter Quote

 

I did have some issues with the narration as it seemed liked it was Rebecca Soler’s first time out of the gate and not the fourth book in a series. Soler would confuse voices that had been around since CINDER and the scene transitions were bad. Which made it difficult to follow along with the story. I often found myself hitting the rewind button to figure out what I’d miss and I’d also consult my physical copy (thank you secret sister!) just to verify what was going on when and who was the main POV at that time. I wouldn’t have thought that WINTER would have been a more polished audio than it was. And while I don’t entirely regret my choice to listen to this one over reading the print there were times I considered switching over before the book was done.

Now that the Lunar Chronicles is over I can say that I am glad that I read the series even if I didn’t fall head over heals in love with it. I do like Meyer’s take on all the different fairy tales and how she set them in a dystopian back drop. It was a fresh take on them and entertaining read. Though I will admit that Cinder wasn’t my favorite character of series and I lean more towards, Winter, Jacin, Cress and Thorne. Those are all characters that I would love to know more about and ones that I hope we’ll see in the anthology STARS ABOVE. Now I just need to find the time to read it and determine if I want to go print or audio. Oh, who am I kidding…I’ll most likely go audio.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Cinder

 

Add Cinder by Marissa Meyer to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Connections

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday4 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is a freebie! I was wondering what I should do for today’s post and thought about skipping it altogether to tackle one of my 20 out backlog reviews. But then Andi over at AndiABCs this this fun Book Connections post (click here!!) and I thought how cool is that? Her post, is about books that immediately bring to mind a blogger type person. If you’ve been a member of this book blogging world for any length of time then there are just certain books that when you see the cover or hear the title you think of a particular person. So here is my book connections list and don’t forget to head over to Andi’s blog and see what book connections she made. (links go to Goodreads except where indicated)

 

What Happens

1. Andi from AndiABCsWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

I know what you are thinking “wait…what?” are you sure you want to choose THIS book for Andi? And the answer is yes! I know that the very first book that like 99.9% of people associate with Andi is Anna and the French Kiss (because seriously, her crush on that book is bigger than the universe) but I thought that was such an obviously pick. Andi is a big advocate for many books and this one came to mind second because its another one that she holds near and dear to her heart. I never would have read this book without Andi forcing me too and I’m super glad that she did.

2. Sarah from Sarah Reads to MuchInto the Woods by Tana French

If there is one book that makes me think of Sarah its Into the Woods by Tana French…and pretty much just Tana French. She and French are totally linked in my mind that I really can’t think of one without thinking of the other. Its a book that been on my list for eons, mostly because of her, and one that I really need to get to because she just loves it so much.

Lead2

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3. Sarah from GoodreadsLead by Kylie Scott.

Ok Sarah say it with me now….JIMMY!! Sarah and I bonded over beers and rock star romances one night in NYC via mutual friend Andi. I recommended the Stage Dive series to her and both of us were very hesitant to pick up Jimmy’s story because we disliked him so much in the previous books. But then we both took a gamble and fell super head over heals in love! This is a book (or rather male lead) that we’ll use as a heart achy gauge when recommending other books. So Lead is a book that I’ll forever associate with Sarah. (*sighs* Jimmy *sighs)

jellicoeroad3

4. Danielle from Love at First PageJellico Road by Melina Marchetta

Danilelle has a few book boyfriend loves but the one that I associate with her most is Jonah Griggs from Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road. So much so that when I was her secret sister I spent six months pretending to be Jonah on the packages and letters that I sent. She is Mrs Jonah Griggs and when I think of this book I most often think of Danielle.

Sugar Daddy Quote

5. Sarah from Treat Yourself with BooksSugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

For this Sarah (I really know a whole heck of a lot of Sarah’s!!) the book/author that comes to mind for me first is Lisa Kleypas. Sugar Daddy is the first one that I thought of but any of Kleypas’s historicals also remind me of Sarah and vice versa.

Book of Ivy Quote

6. Jaime of Fiction FareThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

If you know Jaime then you know that there are several books that could probably be THE book to associate with her. But the one that came to mind for me first was The Book of Ivy. If it wasn’t for her talking about this one (a lot) on social media then I probably would never have read it.

7. Isalys from GoodreadsHalfway to the Grave by Jeanine Frost

If you want to bring the Cuban out of Isa then just ask her to talk about romance books. That girl gets so excited it isn’t even funny. One series that I always link with her is the Night Huntress series by Jeanine Frost. I love Isa’s passion for books and love to hear her crazy gushing rants when it comes to characters that she loves. If you ever run into at an event just ask her to recommend a romance and you’ll see what I mean.

Demon's Lexicon

8. Dani from Overflowing Shelf – The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

I’ll never forget the day that I was in a car with Dani and another friend of ours Jen and The Demon’s Lexicon book was brought up. I don’t think I’ve seen two heads whip around so fast as theirs when I said that I hadn’t read it yet. Over the next hours, days, weeks, etc these two set up a campaign of gush and bullying until I caved and picked up the series. Something that I’ll always be super forever grateful for because Holy Goodness Batman!!! And as such the thought of Dani and Demon’s Lexicon will forever and always be linked in my brain.

9. Alea formerly of Pop Culture JunkieGoing Too Far by Jennifer Echols

The book that always makes me think of Alea is Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. I don’t think I would have picked up Echols if it wasn’t for Alea. Her passion and excitement for the book came across loud and clear despite the miles that separate us.

Secret Society Girl Series

10. Tiff from Mostly YA BooksDiana Peterfreund

Ok…so Diana Peterfreund isn’t technically a book but Tiff and I totally bonded of Diana when we first met and its really hard to pick just one book that screams Tiff. To me, when I think of Peterfreund’s books I think first of a favorite character (*sigh* Poe) and then usually Tiff. So closely is she link in my mind with Peterfreund’s books. And if you haven’t read the super gloriousness that is Peterfreuend’s Secret Society Girl then do yourself a favor and get on it. So so good.

irishdarkblue

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: In Her Defense by Juliana Keyes

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: In Her Defense by Juliana KeyesIn Her Defense by Juliana Keyes
Series: Time Served, Book 2
Published by Carina Press on 05 Sept 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 272
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Chicago, Illinois // Los Angeles, California

First Line(s): Whoever said it was lonely at the top was wrong.

At first glance, IN HER DEFENSE by Juliana Keyes seemed like it would be the perfect book for me. Strong, intelligent heroine meets her match in a techy guy who helps her to unwind. Caitlin is a high powered attorney who is an uber control freak with a huge chip on her shoulder and she’s one of the most unlikable heroines that I’ve ever read. She is mean to everyone and seems to love looking down her nose at people, including our hero who has the misfortune to have to shut off all her corporate access when she makes a mistake is forced to take a vacation. First off, I think the whole scenario is completely unrealistic and I don’t think that she’d be punished to the extent she was in the real world when she’s one of the firms top lawyers. Though, I do know, that in the real world she’d delegate some of these more menial tasks to underlings and so such a thing wouldn’t have happened.

But we aren’t in the real world. We’re in a romance novel so I can accept a certain level of unrealisticness. But I just couldn’t get behind Caitlin as there was nothing redeemable about her. She did go through some character growth throughout the book and I liked her by the end but it was a definite struggle and I almost DNF’d the book a few times because I couldn’t stand her. I did like Eli, at first, but it seemed the better being human that Caitlin got the worse he became. He was such an asshole by the end that I really didn’t want these two to be together. They just didn’t seem to mesh, at all. It also didn’t help that most of their issues resulted from a failure to communicate and how they over-reacted as a result from misconceptions.

About the only thing that IN HER DEFENSE had going for it was that it was a quick read. Buy oy…it was a struggle. The writing was decent enough and I will probably check out Keyes’s other books but I just couldn’t really get over how poorly written these characters were. They were mismatched and lacked chemistry and everything just seemed so forced. IN HER DEFENSE was a book that just wasn’t for me but I do know many people who loved it so definitely give it a try if you like a beauty meets the beast story, where the beast in this case was Caitlin.

irishdarkblue

IR - In Her Defense

Add Down for the Count by Christine Bell to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

Add Playing to Close by Kat Latham to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Me Before You by Jojo MoyesMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You, Book 1
Published by Viking Adult on 31 December 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 481
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Stortfold, England // Mauritius // Zurich, Switzerland (2007, 2009)

First Line(s): There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.

ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes is one of those books that I’d heard about but didn’t give much thought about until I saw previews for the movie version of it. I was intrigued by the previews and like many readers I decided to read the book before trying to see it. While I liked ME BEFORE YOU and found it to be a quick and emotional read the more I thought about it the more complex I felt about it. At first read, I really liked this book and the journey that Lou Clark takes in living the life that she was always meant to live. At the start of ME BEFORE YOU, Lou is stuck working dead end jobs in a small town in order to support her family. She’s shy and unassuming and completely miserable. It also doesn’t help that her family is absolutely retched to her.

Then Lou meets Will and her life changes in ways that she never thought possible. Will is a quadriplegic and is suffering from severe depression as he used to lead a very adventurous life.  When Lou first starts to work as a companion to Will their relationship is very strained but I loved watching them bother get to know each other and to grow and change from that interaction. But most of all I loved who Lou became through her association with Will. She grew into herself and became more confident and self assured and that is a message that I loved in ME BEFORE YOU. That its ok to be who you are. That you should live each day to its fullest and to always try to find wonder and adventure in even the smallest of things.

Me Before You Quote

But where ME BEFORE YOU leaves me feeling less that good is with the ending. Oh how I didn’t like how things went the way they did and it wasn’t an ending I was expecting. Well, I knew the what I just didn’t know the how and its the how that I didn’t care for. That is a message that we see all to often in books and media and its one that doesn’t paint the best of pictures. It was an easy out and one that definitely involved emotions but I don’t think that it was the right choice. There is more that I want to say on this but its hard without spoiling (well, any more than I’ve probably done) and its hard to find the right words for my thoughts.

I also didn’t like the random POV changes to Lou’s sister which only made me dislike Lou’s family more. I really wish that the entire story was told from Lou’s perspective and I wish that the ending had been a little different. If so, then I think that ME BEFORE YOU would have been a book that I was completely and utterly over the moon about. Instead I liked it, I’ll probably recommend it to some, but its not a book that I long to be able to read against for the first time. I am also on the fence on if I want to read the sequel, AFTER YOU. Its a book that has come up in my library queue but I keep tossing back and then putting back on my holds list.

I liked where Lou was at the end of ME BEFORE YOU despite all the heartbreak that she had gone through. In terms of how Lou thought about herself she was in a very good place. She was hopeful and ready to live the life she’d always dreamed about. I’m afraid that if I read AFTER YOU that will changed. Books need conflict in order to move forward after all so Lou can’t be happy in the way that I want her to be. So I may not read it. I may just keep Lou in that place where she is in my mind and continue her story in my own way.

irishdarkblue

IR - Me Before You

Add God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo to Goodreads.

Add P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern to Goodreads.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne YoungThe Epidemic by Suzanne Young
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: The Program, Book 0.6
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy
Published by Simon Pulse on 29 April 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Portland, Oregon / Roseburg, Oregon / Eugene, Oregon / Myrtle Creek , Oregon/ Grants Pass, Oregon / Weed, California

First Line(s): My entire life is a lie.

When I finished THE REMEDY by Suzanne Young I wanted to immediately jump into its sequel, THE EPIDEMIC because whoa Nelly that was one crazy way to end a book!! Thankfully, this was just a duology so I knew that Young couldn’t toy with my emotions TOO much but it was still a wild and crazy ride from the start of THE EPIDEMIC all the way until the end. I firmly believe that Suzanne Young is an evil mastermind as its pure genius how she connects all her books in this series together. I admit, there were times where I gasped allowed at a reveal and was taken by surprise by some of the twists and turns in the story. In the end, about the only real coherent thing I could say for THE EPIDEMIC is that it was mind blowingly good.

Blew My Mind

I still didn’t like, or trust, Deacon for much of the book but I did eventually come around to that ship. But who I shipped most was Quinn and all the things that she went through throughout THE EPIDEMIC. She had such an amazing story ARC that I am so very very sad to see it all come to an end. Although its good for Quinn because after what she went through I don’t think she’d survive any more of what Young could cook up for her. (Have I mentioned that Young is an evil author? Because if not she is.)

lots of feelings

THE EPIDEMIC is a book that kept me on the very edge of my seat from start to finish and one that I couldn’t put down once I started. I pretty much read THE EPIDEMIC in a single sitting and barely paused to eat or do anything because I was so invested in what would happen next. THE EPIDEMIC was so creepily delicious and by the end I was an emotional wreck of a reader who just wanted to cry in a corner and then maybe re-read THE PROGRAM because I think that book will be even more creepily good now that I know what I know about you know what.

the more you know

 

I have so much that I want to say about THE EPIDEMIC but its hard to do so without spoiling anything in the series. This is definitely one of those books where its best to go in fairly blind because then everything just feels a little bit more raw and the discoveries are that much more exciting. I also have real trouble finding words to fully express my feelings and thoughts about THE EPIDEMIC but I can show you what I was thinking as I read it via my Goodreads updates:

epidemic reactions

This world that Young has created in her Program series is nothing short of fantastic and all too scarily real. As you read this series you can see how these progression of events could happen and that just makes it all the more terrifying. Young is also a super talented writer and just has this way with words and language that really set a scene and pulls out real and raw emotions from a reader. I always become so invested in her stories and when each one ends I am left pining for the next one. If you haven’t experienced the crazy emotional roller coaster ride that is then what are you waiting for? Its totally worth it…and I’ll be waiting for you over on twitter with hugs and cookies if you need them.

shock - still processing

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

 

Add The Remedy by Suzanne Young to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases (So Far) This Year

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday0 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is all about our favorite 2016 releases (so far). This was a fairly easy list for me to compile because while I’ve read 81 books so far this year only 41 of them have been released in 2016. Of those 41 only three have been 5 star reads. So those 3 will be listed first followed by seven 4 star 2016 releases that I also adored. It should also be noted that some of my favorite 2016 releases I actually read last year, so you won’t see PS I LIKE YOU by Kasie West or THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson but know that I loved them and you should read them. What about you? What are some of your favorite 2016 releases?

The Long Game

1. The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (review coming soon / goodreads)

Tess Kendrick, teen fixer extraordinaire, returns in a pulse-pounding thriller about a deadly conspiracy at the heart of Washington.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can–and cannot–be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she’s about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.

the epidemic

 

2. The Epidemic (review coming soon / goodreads) by Suzanne Young

Can one girl help others find closure by slipping into the identities of their loved ones? Find out in this riveting sequel toThe Remedy and companion to the New York Times bestselling The Treatment and The Program.

In a world before The Program Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer, a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his own, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself, even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

Hamilton

3. Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (review coming soon / goodreads)

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot

In Real Life Quote

4. In Real Life by Jessica Love  (my review / goodreads)

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior-year spring-break plans are ruined by a rule breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friendship feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Tied to Trouble Quote

5. Tied to Trouble by Megan Erikson (my review / goodreads)

Between love and hate, there’s a whole lot of trouble…

Chad Lake only showed up at his sister’s party for the free food, but when he spots an uptight nerd at the edge of the crowd, he can’t resist trying to ruffle the guy’s perfect bow tie and impeccable hair. The hottie’s ready for him, though, and in the end, it’s Chad who’s left wide-eyed, his ears still ringing with the filthy things Bow Tie whispered in his ear. No one gets the upper hand on Chad. Ever.

Owen Hawkins has heard all about the cocky Adonis from Chad’s sister—the same sister who holds Owen’s career advancement in her hands. He has every intention of steering clear of the other man…until Chad’s sexy taunts push him too far. There’s something intriguing about Chad, and even though Owen knows that getting tangled up with the infuriating man is trouble, he can’t seem to stay away…

**This is part of an M/F series but can be read as standalone**

 

Bittersweet Quote

6. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen (my review / goodreads)

The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Because of Miss Bridgerton

7. Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (review coming soon / goodreads)

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…

V23 new typeface tagline.indd

8. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (review coming soon / goodreads)

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Fast Connection

 

9. Fast Connection (review coming soon / goodreads) by Megan Erikson and Santino Hassell

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan–the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.

He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated.

*FAST CONNECTION is a standalone, full-length romance novel with no cliffhanger*

 

Defending Taylor Quote

10. Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (My review / Goodreads)

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

— The eBook edition of Defending Taylor contains an exclusive Catching Jordan short story called “Touchdown.”

irishdarkblue

 

 

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post: A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Guest Post0 Comments

A Week of Mondays_Cover Image

 A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Ellie is having the worst Monday of her life. She messes up her school  speech for the class vice presidency position, she manages to take the world’s  worst school picture, she bombs softball tryouts, and the icing on top  of this awful cake: her perfect boyfriend who is in a high school rock band dumps her. At the end of  the day, Ellie wishes she could redo everything. When she wakes up the  next morning, she discovers that it’s Monday again! She has six more chances to redo the day in the hopes of having everything go exactly the way she wants. But in the process, she just may find out that what she really wants and what she actually needs are two very different things.

Expected publication: August 2nd 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Guest Post

ELLISON “ELLIE” SPARKS: An idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with alot on her plate.

Those were the first words I ever wrote about Ellie Sparks. They were written in a synopsis for my publisher when I was first trying to sell them on the idea for a book called A WEEK OF MONDAYS.

Of course, you can’t write an entire book about a one-sentence character. Just like you can’t live your entire life as a one-sentence person. But every character has to begin somewhere. And this is where Ellie began for me.

As an idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with a lot on her plate.

In my mind, this is who she had to be. I thought, if you’re going to write about a girl who relives the same horrible Monday over and over again, trying to “get it right,” these are the adjectives that must describe her. She has to be idealisticenough to think she can fix everything in her life. Yet, she also has to beambitious enough to try it. And how else are you going to fill seven Mondays with interesting storylines if the main character doesn’t have a lot on her plate.

So there was Ellie. And there was me, ready to write her, thinking I understood her. Thinking I knew everything I needed to know about her.

This is the writing process for me. I start with an idea of who someone is. I draw a box around them, like an identity fence. I stuff them inside and I lock the gate. I tell them, “This is who you are. Don’t try to change that. Don’t try to be or do anything else. I don’t have time for detours. I’m on a deadline.”

I never learn.

A WEEK OF MONDAYS is my tenth published novel and I’m still trying to lock characters inside fences. Eventually, though, they always break free. They always get bigger than their boxes. And even though I try to adjust, I keep drawing bigger and bigger boxes around them, trying to contain them to the world I built, the world I envisioned, they never quite want to stay inside. Just like people. You can try to identify them, label them, build a fence around them that makes youfeel safe, and yet they’ll always surprise you. Because no character—no human being—fits inside a box.

One of my favorite reviews of A WEEK OF MONDAYS says, “Watching Ellie relive her horrible day is something like peeling an onion. Each Monday, a piece of her people-pleaser facade melts away, revealing more of her real self.”

I smiled when I read that because it wasn’t until then that I realized exactly what had happened in the writing of this book. I had done it again. I had tried to put yet another character in a box, and she had slowly, word by word, page by page, Monday by Monday broken free.

This book is ultimately a story of self-discovery.

Seven days. Seven chances to completely reinvent yourself. Wear different clothes, make different choices, explore different paths, say different things, be different people.

Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out who you really are. And when you finally do, you may find yourself thinking ‘Thank God It’s Monday’ after all.

For the next five Mondays, blogger friends across the internet will be sharing their best and worst Monday. Follow along with us online with #TGIM and #AWeekofMondays, because whether a Monday is memorable for good reasons or memorable for bad reasons, we stand to learn a lot about ourselves.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Act Like It by Lucy ParkerAct Like It Published by Carina Press on 30 Nov 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Performing Arts
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 199
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Upper Bidford, England

First Line(s): Almost every night, between nine and ten past, Lainie Graham passionately kissed her ex-boyfriend. She was then gruesomely dead by ten o’clock, stabbed through the neck by a jealous rival.

I forget who first told me to read ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker but I do know that I saw mention of the book on Twitter (or was it Instagram?). But when I read the synopsis I knew that I had to check this book out as it contained a few of my favorite tropes and had the added bonus of being set in one of my favorite cities, London. ACT LIKE IT focuses on Lainie Graham and Richard Troy who are co-staring in a London play. Lainie is new(ish) to the stage but Richard is a well know star and he’s having a bit of a PR problem. The theatre company then decides it’d be a grand idea if Richard and Lainie pretend to date saying it’ll be a win-win for all. Richard’s image is improved by Lainie’s good girl influence, she becomes more well known, and the theatre sells seats. What could go wrong?

Initially, Lainie and Richard do not like each other. But the sparks totally fly off the page between them. They have a chemistry that can’t be denied and I loved watching their journey. ACT LIKE IT is a total emotional roller coaster that had me laughing one moment and near tears as my heart broke in the next. This book was a total heartachey read and I devoured it! Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop until I hit the last page and then I was sad because it was over. The feelings ACT LIKE IT made me feel were raw and real and *sighs* just so very wonderful!!

Act Like It Quote

 

I loved Parker’s writing style and I am sad that she’s a debut author because I can’t bounce over and read a huge back list of titles. Instead I have to wait with eager anticipation for her next book, PRETTY FACE, which is expected out later this Fall. I also loved how this book was set in a theatre and how Richard was this grumpy gus of an actor who comes around as he falls for Lainie. I do so adore my grumpy heroes especially those that resist falling in love because it makes their fall so much sweeter. And another thing I loved about ACT LIKE IT…no pointless breakup!! As per the romance book trope there is drama, angst and a parting of the ways and while I hated that there was a parting it was real, hard on the heart, and I loved how Lainie and Richard reacted.

ACT LIKE IT is one of those books I wish I could read again for the first time. Its a book that I know I’ll re-read and love every time. Its just a fun filled story and such a quick read that its sure to delight all the romance book readers who read my blog. It is filled with strong, smart characters with witty dialogue along with with sexy moments that positively sizzle off the page. As I’ve said there is a ton of chemistry and great banter between Lainie and Richard and they are a couple that readers are bound to love. For me, ACT LIKE IT, hit all the right notes at just the right time and just by writing this review I already want to pick this one up for a re-read. Its just that fun and enjoyable. So do yourself a favor and buy this one today!

 

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IR - Act Like It 

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads (Review coming soon)

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Kings Rising by CS PacatKings Rising by CS Pacat
Series: Captive Prince, Book 3
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit
Published by Berkley Books on 02 February 16
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Fortaine, Vere // Kingsmeet, Akielos // Ios, Akielos

First Line(s): ‘Damianos.’ Damen stood at the base of the dais steps as his name spread in tones of shock and disbelief over the courtyard.

I am not entirely sure what to say in this review of KINGS RISING by CS Pacat that hasn’t already been said. How do I add to the gush fest that I wrote of the first two books in this series? How do I accurately sum up just how amazing this whole series was and all the feels it made me feel? There really aren’t words for me to use to fully describe this book or at least none adequate enough as I still have trouble speaking coherently about this book. I picked up KINGS RISING immediately after finishing PRINCE’S GAMBIT (my review) because I couldn’t wait another second before knowing what happened next. Especially with how PRINCE’S GAMBIT ended!! Secrets have been revealed and that is just the start of all the crazy twists and turns in this book.

Damen and Laurent have slowly been coming together and Damen’s secret could be the thing that finally breaks them. The final journey of these two is just so heartachingly good!! There are few couples in the book world that have effected me as much as Damen and Laurent have. Their romance is a slow burn filled with secrets and mistrust and eventually nothing but hope and love. It takes three books to get them there but oh what a journey it was to bring them to those final moments!! The Captive Prince series is such a roller coaster of emotion but oh my stars I would give anything to experience this read for the first time again. There is nothing like that first read where you have no idea what is waiting for you with each turn of the page and Pacat definitely excels at building up the suspense!!

Kings Rising Quote

Oh Pacat does still use her fancy $3 words but I didn’t care about that as much in this book as the others because I kind of thought that KINGS RISING might be the book that would kill me. (Spoiler: it didn’t…but it came close!). KINGS RISING really put my heart through the ringer and despite all my hopes I wasn’t sure that it would end the way I wanted to. This made my read of it complete torture but I wouldn’t change that ride for anything because the emotional investment in a story is part of what I love about reading. I totally lost myself for the hours it took me to read this book. I was Damen and Laurent and all the side characters. I wasn’t in my apartment reading in bed but right there on the battlefield wondering who I could trust and who would betray me next.

While PRINCE’S GAMBIT is probably my favorite in the series KINGS RISING is a close second. I read the two so close together that its hard to separate them at times. All I know is that I went into CAPTIVE PRINCE thinking that I would hate the books and I almost cried when I turned the last page of KINGS RISING because it was over. The end of a series is so hard especially when it was such an emotional read but as I’ve said I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. If you know me, you know that I don’t gush about a ton of books. I recommend a ton but I’m not a gusher. This series though, this series totally makes me gush, and for that reason alone you should give it a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I know I didn’t.

 

 

Kings Rising Thoughts

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Review + Interview: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Contest, Interview, Review1 Comment

Review + Interview: Bittersweet by Sarina BowenBittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North, Book 1
Published by Self-Published on 14 June 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 293
Format: eARC
Source: Publicist
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Tuxbury, Vermont // Boston, Massachusetts // Norwich, Vermont // Fairlee, Vermont

First Line(s): “Giffin?”

Regular readers to my blog will know that I am a big fan of Sarina Bowen’s work. I love her real and complex characters and the love stories that she tells. So I was very excited to be able to read BITTERSWEET which is the start of a new series and is set in Vermont. BITTERSWEET alternates POVs between Audrey, a flightly free spirit who is trying to find her place in the world, and Griff a gruff farmer who loves what he does and who doesn’t believe in happily ever afters. So its a good thing that he and Audrey collide because despite all that she’s been through she still finds rainbows on rainy days. Griff and Audrey’s relationship is a mix between opposites attract and a second chance at love because when Griff pulls Audrey’s car out of a ditch we learn its not the first time that they’ve met. Nor is it the first time that sparks have flown between them.

And boy do the sparks fly.

The chemistry between Griff and Audrey leaps off the page and I loved the tension and how well these two worked together. Their journey isn’t without its bumps in the road and both are wary about putting it all out on the line but I loved the entire thing. And best of all….there is no pointless break up!! Yes, there is drama and separation…this is a romance story after all. But the parting is a bittersweet one (see what I did there) as Audrey and Griff aren’t quite ready to admit that they are each others forever dream. Especially Audrey, who has worked so hard to find her place in a world that seems to always want to put her down. She comes from a privileged life but she isn’t quiet the personality that her mother was expecting. So, Audrey finds it especially hard to come to the conclusion that dreams can change and that the path you thought was solid may not be the right one for you.

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Bittersweet Quote

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Another thing that I loved about BITTERSWEET was the secondary cast. I almost loved them more than Griff and Audrey! Griff’s family is hilarious and fun and I loved what they brought to the page every time they made an appearance. Then there is Zara who is a little caustic but also who becomes a good friend to Audrey, which is something that they both really need. But one of my favorites was Zach. Oh sweet, adorable blushing Zach. He’s quiet and shy but he sees so much and what little we learn of his backstory in BITTERSWEET leaves me aching to know more. I desperately want him to find a happily ever after.

BITTERSWEET is a beautiful story with a good message and one that will make even the coldest readers heart ache. Its real and emotional and I was so glad that I brought this on a plane with me because it gave me hours of uninterrupted reading time. I was able to get lost in this world and I hated it when I hit the last page. I was even tempted to read the chapter sampler of STEADFAST and if you know me at all you know that I don’t read samplers!!  Thankfully though I won’t have long to wait as STEADFAST is expected to be released in July followed by KEEPSAKE in October. This is both good and bad. Good because I don’t have to wait three years to finish the series but bad because it means it won’t be long until I can’t experience this world for the first time again. *sighs* The reading life…its so hard.

But what isn’t hard is to fall in love with BITTERSWEET so go forth and buy your copy today!! If you like a good love story then this is one you won’t want to miss!! (Seriously….that orchard scene!! #swoon)

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irishdarkblue

Read chapter one of BITTERSWEEET here!!

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IR - Bittersweet

 

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

Q&A

 

1. Describe yourself in one sentence.

I am a total goofball.

2. Can you describe your newest book, BITTERSWEET, in five words or less?

Hot grumpy farmer vs. chef.

3. What inspired you to write the TRUE NORTH series?

I always knew I’d write another book about Vermont, because it’s just such a cool place in the world. It’s rugged and sexy in a way that’s different from my hockey books.

4. Which character in the TRUE NORTH books was your favorite to write and why?

Audrey, because she never gives up, even when people try to convince her she’ll fail.

5. Which line do you find harder to write, the first or the last?

The last one. I hate last lines. Real life doesn’t have last lines, ergo they are tricky in fiction.

6. What’s the craziest/strangest thing you’ve googled (to date) in the name of research?

Oh boy. I’ve Googled some things that made me warn the family, “when the FBI comes to investigate, tell them it was for the novel.” How to buy a gun on the internet, etc.

7. What is your favorite Hard Cider to drink….and have you ever had one that tasted like the one that Griff and Audrey make together?

The ciders by Farnum Hill at Poverty Lane Orchard are awfully funky. 🙂 I like Champlain Orchards Cidery, too.

8. Without spoiling, what was your favorite scene to write in BITTERSWEET?

The cider tasting scene! I cracked myself right up there.

9. One thing I loved about BITTERSWEET was its celebration of local, farm fresh items and small businesses. What are some of your favorite products that you can only get when you are in Vermont?

There ARE a million awesome Vermont foods. Vermont Peanut Butter company makes a flavor called Good Karma that has dark chocolate in it. I love it desperately.

10. Any teases or hints you want to give about STEADFAST or KEEPSAKE? (AKA what I really want to know is will Zach get a story? Because I adored him!)

I will tell you that Zach is book #3 and that you haven’t met his heroine yet. But that’s all I’ll say!

Interesting

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