Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Please excuse the mess when wandering through the archives...when I moved my blog from Blogger to Wordpress many posts lost their formatting. I am slowly (very slowly) going back to fix post formatting issues. Some of my review indexes are also out of date but I'm working on that too. This does not include my author/title indexes as they should be current.

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: With This Heart by RS Grey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: With This Heart by RS GreyWith This Heart by R.S. Grey
(Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Published by Self-Published on 06 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 318
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Dallas, Texas // Corpus Cristi, Texas // Odessa, Texas // Marfa, Texas // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): On a rather insignificant Saturday afternoon, I stood in a funeral home searching through rows of urns as if I was browsing down the aisles of a super market.

With This Heart by RS Grey is the second novel of hers that I’ve read and I was really hoping to get another book like Scoring Wilder (my review). Alas, that wasn’t to be and while I did enjoy With This Heart I was often frustrated by it as well. The main character, Abby Mae, would often break the fourth wall during the narration and it almost always took me out of the story. This wasn’t a book that I wanted the character to talk to me it was a book where I wanted to be more of a voyeur peaking into her life for a brief moment in time. There was also much awkwardness to be hard in Abby Mae’s interactions with other characters, including Beck, that would often make me cringe. The mom was overly needy and clingy and while I get the reasons behind it I just got annoyed with it and kept waiting for Abby Mae to put her foot down and say something only she never did.

Abby Mae and Beck were also two very frustrating characters. They had some chemistry but there wasn’t much to build a relationship on as they never talked about the real things. Abby Mae kept big secrets from him and she was also very jealous without cause. There was so much mistrust between them that it seemed impossible for them to build a solid relationship. Plus, when it came to the pointless breakup Beck was just a little too passive and accepting of it. Why not fight for the girl? Why not figure out a way to make things work without either of them having to give everything up. Life isn’t an all or nothing deal and long distance relationships can work.

With This Heart Quote

I did like that With This Heart  was a road-trip book as I am always a sucker for them. I do think I would have preferred this one a little more if they’d gone out of Texas a bit more. But Texas is a big ass state and there is much to see and do there. Especially since there was a reason behind all the stops that. I also found With This Heart to be a quick read and I read it in a single sitting. I still enjoyed Grey’s writing style and will check out her other books in the future.

With This Heart is also a book that may have annoyed me at times but I was still engaged in the story. I still kept flipping the pages to see what happened next and most of all I did want these two characters to find their happily for nows. I may not have loved it but I did like it and if you and I read with similar tastes then you might like it too.

irishdarkblue

IR - With This Heart

Add How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski to Goodreads (Click here for my Review.)

Add Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Divider

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cover Reveal + Excerpt: The Shamless Hour by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, Excerpt0 Comments

Cover Reveal + Excerpt: The Shamless Hour by Sarina Bowen

Announcing: Ivy Years #4

The Shameless Hour

by Sarina Bowen

Coming on or before May 1st

 

The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.

For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second-guess herself.

Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright nasty fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.

Bella doesn’t want Rafe’s help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can’t be extinguished.

Pre-order The Shameless Hour at iBooks

Add The Shameless Hour to your Goodreads Shelf

Follow Sarina Bowen on Amazon.com

Sign up for Sarina’s Mailing List

Excerpt: The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

I heard the band start to play the classic one-two Merengue rhythm that I’d heard my whole life. On the dance floor, the energy picked up as the geezers began to move to the faster beat.

“Let’s go,” I said, standing up. I offered Bella my hand.

But Bella shook her head. Even worse, she scooted her chair toward the wall.

“Don’t leave me hanging,” I said, my hand still waiting in the air. “Come on now. Nobody puts Bella in a corner.”

On the other side of the table, Bella’s sister snorted into her white wine.

Bella rolled her eyes. Hard. “You did not just quote Dirty Dancing.”

I leaned down near Bella’s ear. “I did. Now get your ass out of that chair, like the girl in the movie, or I’ll have to put you in a fireman’s hold.”

Her mouth tight, Bella stood up. Not one to waste an opportunity, I clasped her hand, tugging her onto the dance floor. When we were right in the center, I put one hand onto Bella’s waist and took her opposite hand in mine. She was as stiff as a piece of wood. “Shake it off, chica. This is supposed to be fun.”

“Your job tonight was to make my life less embarrassing. Not more.”

“I am doing that. We’re going to be the best looking dancers on this floor, and everyone in this mausoleum is going to wonder how I got so lucky as to be here with you. Now listen to this rhythm, okay? Just step to the beat. And let your hips absorb the motion.” I began to move to the music. The merengue is a Dominican dance, and every kid in my neighborhood can merengue before his fifth birthday. It’s just not that complicated.

With nervous eyes, Bella began to move.

“Use these hips,” I prompted, touching the silky fabric of her dress. As I watched, she loosened up a tiny fraction. “Yes! But even more. You look great. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. And think of pressing the balls of your feet into the floor.”

Biting her lip, Bella moved with me.

“That’s it! See? Nothing to it.” Just like that, we had a proper merengue going on.

“Can I sit down yet?” Bella asked.

“Not even close,” I laughed. “See, I knew you could move.”

Bella pouted. “We’ve seen each other’s moves, Rafe.”

She lifted her eyes, and the heat in them went straight to my dick.

Jesucristo. That was the trouble with getting so close to Bella. I was always going to be susceptible to her. Anything she did to remind me of that night was always going to knock me right over.

“Ha.” She said. “I finally found a way to shut you up.” Bella put a little more effort into her merengue then, looking smug.

ShamelessHour med

In preparation for the Shameless Hour’s launch, Sarina Bown has put the first book in the series, The Year We Fell Down on sale for $0.99.

Divider

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Recently Added to My To-Be-Read List

Posted by Irish in Misc3 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 about those book that I recently added to my to-be-read list.  I’m a blogger and an avid reader so my to-be-read list is forever growing so here are just a few of the books that I’ve bought or obtained recently that I need to read…like now. Oy…I need more hours in a day to read all ALL THE BOOKS!! (Links go to Goodreads.)

1. More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs - Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

 

2. Bone by Jeff Smith – An American graphic novel first! The complete 1300 page epic from start to finish in one deluxe trade paperback.

Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, spending a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. Their many adventures include crossing the local people in The Great Cow Race, and meeting a giant mountain lion called RockJaw: Master of the Eastern Border. They learn about sacrifice and hardship in The Ghost Circles and finally discover their own true natures in the climatic journey to The Crown of Horns.

3. The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead - Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

4. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

5. Every Word by Ellie Marney – James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago…without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his ‘partner in crime’.

Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour – not that Mycroft’s ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him…and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.

The theft of a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft’s parents…Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events – or will she lose him forever?

Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.

6. Operation Valentine by Loretta Hill - From the author of the bestselling The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots and One Little White Lie, comes a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about dating in the modern world.

“Once upon a time, there was a young girl called Sarah Dubert who needed to fall in love in six weeks . . .”

Thanks to food poisoning, broken dates, airport malfunctions and even death, Sarah Dubert has never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. However this year she’s determined to break the curse and snare herself a man before Big V. Signing herself up to the online dating site soulmates.com, she begins eliminating possible candidates through dates at her favourite bar, The Blue Saloon . . .

Owen Black, the handsome new owner of The Blue Saloon, likes his women fast, experienced and temporary. A woman on a mission to find love – particularly one with a six-week deadline – would normally have him running for the hills. So why is he so uncharacteristically interested in Sarah’s search? And, more importantly, the success of her dates.?

7. Free Fall by Mindi Scott How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he’s ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .

8. The Novice by Taran Matharu – When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

9. Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein – Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

10. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall – A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

irishdarkblue

Be sure to check out my other post today, a review of Deep by Kylie Scott – a new adult rockstar romance.

Today is also the last day to enter my monthly contest for my favorite book of February along with a $10 gift card! 

Divider

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Deep by Kylie Scott

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Deep by Kylie ScottDeep by Kylie Scott
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Stage Dive, Book 4
Also in this series: Lick, Play, Lead
on 31 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Road Trip, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Albuquerque, New Mexico // Portland, Oregon // Saint Louis, Missouri // Las Vegas, Nevada // Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia // New York, New York

First Line(s): Positive. I reread the instructions, doing my best to flatten out the creases in the piece of paper one-handed.

Deep by Kylie Scott is the fourth and final book in her Stage Dive series which see the various members of the band of the same name fall head over heels in love. Walking into Deep I knew that it was a story that I was looking forward to but its also one that I dreaded a bit because Lead (my review) was going to be a really hard book to follow. Lead was my favorite of the series and a part of me just knew that Ben’s story wouldn’t be able to hold up to Jimmy’s. And I was right. Though that doesn’t mean I didn’t like Ben and Lizzy’s story I just didn’t love it.

I just felt that Ben was a total dick throughout much of the book and I just shook my head every time Lizzy forgave his brutish behavior with very little meaningful apology from him. Not that Ben couldn’t been sweet because he could and I did adore the text messages that the two exchanged but when push came to shove Ben just wasn’t there for Lizzy. It takes two to make a baby after all and both need to face the consequences of that one night stand. Either stand up or just walk away. The push and pull half measures were just frustrating and Lizzy deserved better. Though I did love the moment between Ben and Jimmy when Jimmy gave Ben a piece of his mind. That has got to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. But as you might guess I’m a bit biased by all things Jimmy.  I also wasn’t a fan of how Anne kept treating Lizzy as if she was a child. Lizzy was an adult and about to have a baby its time that Anne realizes that and starts treating her accordingly. Lizzy also needed a bit more of a backbone she was a bit too passive for my tastes throughout most of the story.

Deep Quote

I liked Deep and thought that it was a good ending to the series. I liked how all the guys found their girls and they all found a happily ever after. I could have done without the crazy baby name but they are celebrities and if the real world has taught me nothing its that celebrities do like their crazy unusual names. I also found Deep to be a quick read and I finished it in just over a day. I loved this world and these characters so even with my issues with Ben’s actions throughout the book I still couldn’t stop turning the pages. While the characters did sometimes frustrate me they also made my heart ache and at times I wanted to shake them both. But I was invested in their story and being invested is always a good thing.

The Stage Dive series was a really enjoyable one for me and I am going to miss this world now that its over. I know that I will be re-reading Jimmy’s story often and re-reading the others for all those glimpses of my favorite character. Seriously, if you trust my opinion at all then you need to meet Jimmy and with him his bandmates. These books are worth the read and I am really looking forward to seeing what Kylie Scott comes up with next.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Deep

Add Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Trethway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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

Divider

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blog Tour Excerpt: THE HAZARDS OF SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Blog Tour Excerpt: THE HAZARDS OF SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00023]

 

Warning: Sleeping with a friend might change your life forever.

Sleeping with Kyle was never in the plans. Pretending to be his girlfriend was one thing, but letting our relationship become anything but platonic was another. The problem with mixing friendship with sex is that inevitably feelings get involved, and when that happens there’s no turning back.

When Kyle’s life fell apart around him, I needed to help, but doing that meant opening myself up to the most terrifying thing in the world—falling in love.

 

Twitter | Author Goodreads | Pinterest | Website | THE HAZARDS SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND  Goodreads  | Facebook

Excerpt

 

After a fabulous dinner, a shared bottle of wine, and a starry night walk on the beach, we eventually made it to bed. I was exhausted from the sun, but excited to spend a night with Kyle when I wasn’t worried about Savy and Glen overhearing.

“Could you get naked already?” I teased Kyle. He was taking his time that night.

“In a hurry, are you?” He grinned before running his lips down my neck. “I don’t see any reason to rush things tonight.”

“Of course you don’t. As usual I’m the one who wants it more.” I was only half kidding.

“Is that what you think?” He moved over me. His grin widened. “That I don’t want you?”

I nodded, ignoring that I was only in a bra and underwear while he still had his shorts on.

“It’s exactly the opposite.” He gently pulled one of my bra straps down my shoulder. “I don’t like rushing things. I want to savor every moment.”

“I could understand if this was the first time, but it’s not. We do this all the time now.”

“We do. Don’t we?” He pulled down my other bra strap. “Funny how that happened.”

“You know very well how it happened.” I tried to calm down my body. No guy had ever made me want them more than Kyle. You’d think after all the times we spent together I wouldn’t be as affected, but it had only gotten worse.

“Do I?” He unbuttoned his shorts before getting up just enough to toss them off.

“Yes. You do.”

He left tiny kisses on my shoulder while he reached around and unclasped my bra. “Was it because you threatened to start having random hook-up sex?”

“No. It was because you made me pretend to be your fake girlfriend.”

“Made you?” He tossed my bra where he’d thrown his pants. “I seem to remember you agreeing without a fight.”

“That’s not how I remember it.”

Contest

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

 

 

Alyssa Rose Ivy’s THE HAZARDS OF SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND – Excerpt & Review Tour

March 27th

The Phantom Paragrapher – Review

Breaking Hearts – Excerpt

Indy Book Fairy – Excerpt

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Excerpt

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

Romance Obsessed Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

March 28th

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review

G & Co. Book Blog – Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

BBF Bookboyfriends Forever – Excerpt

Some Like It Paranormal – Review & Excerpt

Books Need TLC – Excerpt

Zili in the Sky – Excerpt

March 29th

Book Briefs – Review

Movies, Shows & Books – Excerpt

New Adult Addiction – Excerpt

Adventures in Writing –Excerpt

The Book Enthusiast – Review & Excerpt

A Cup and A Book – Excerpt

EscapeNBooks – Excerpt

March 30th

Ramblings From This Chick – Review

booklover4lifeblog – Excerpt

Best Book Boyfriends – Excerpt

Grownupfangirl – Excerpt

Ticket to Anywhere – Excerpt

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

DanaSquare – Review & Excerpt

V’s Reads – Excerpt

March 31st

Falling In Fall Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Love Affair With Fiction – Excerpt

All The Things Inbetween – Excerpt

LuLo Fangirl –Excerpt

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess – Excerpt

April 1st

I Read Indie – Review

Between The Lines – Excerpt

Naughty Book Eden – Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Excerpt

What’s Beyond Forks? – Review & Excerpt

Obsessed by Books – Review & Excerpt

Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog – Excerpt

April 2nd

Sultry, Steamy Reading – Excerpt

Sexy Bibliophiles – Review

A Dream Within A Dream – Excerpt

Roxy’s Reviews – Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review & Excerpt

BookCatPin – Review & Excerpt

bujoijoi22 – Excerpt

I Dare You To Read – Review & Excerpt

April 3rd

Morning Books and Coffee – Excerpt

shelf life – Excerpt

Mikky’s World Of Books – Excerpt

Making it Happen – Review & Excerpt

Pink Fluffy Hearts – Review & Excerpt

Stormy Day Reading Books – Review & Excerpt

Arlenis J – Excerpt

 

Buy Links:

Amazon // iBooks // Google Play // Kobo

Alyssa Rose Ivy Bio:

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Divider

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher HealyThe Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Series: The League of Princes, Book 2
Published by Harper Audio on 26 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Magic, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Books by Male Authors, 2014 Personal Challenge
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes
Source: Audible.com
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: The Kingdoms – Erinthia // Sylvaria // Harmonia // The Orphaned Wastes // Sturmhagen // Avondell

First Line(s): A true hero plays the flute.

 The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle is the second book in Christopher Healy’s League of Princes series and picks up not long after the first book ends. Events have been turned against our princes a but as their heroics are turned into a bit of a farce and Briar Rose is determined to concur all of the kindoms. Which she will do with through blackmail and cunning where she can. But then the bandit king steals an item of power and this will have our luckless League of Princes joining with Briar Rose to get it back.

As with the first book, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, this book is filled which shenanigans and humor as our bumbling princes and their sassy princesses try to overcome impossible odds in order to save the say. Bronson Pinchot does a great job bringing all of these characters to life making them endearing and bratty depending on who is doing the talking. Pinchot’s narration had me finding reasons to listen to this story to see what would happen next. The only thing missing from the audio version of this story was that I missed all the artwork that I know had to be included in its pages. The artwork was really fun and added to the the story and so without it there was something missing from this one.

Storming the Castle Quote

Overall, I enjoyed this story but there are times when the characters do annoy with their constant bumbling and a refusal to learn from past mistakes. There are also things that are easier for me to see reading this as an adult than some of the intended audiences might. Like the various star-crossed lovers that fill the pages of this book. Just because a fairy sets up two people doesn’t mean that they are destined to be together forever.

However, most of my quibbles and annoyances with this one do come from the fact that I’m not the target audience. There are tools needed sometimes when writing for younger readers that seem repetitive or just plan dumb. But I do think that Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle will have a lot of appeal to both boys and girls who like adventure stories.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storming the Castle

Add Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Fablehaven by Brandon Mull to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Divider

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle MeadSpirit Bound by Richelle Mead
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Vampire Academy, Book 5
Also in this series:
Published by Razorbill on 18 May 2010
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairbanks, Alaska // Unnamed, Montana // Bethleham, Pennsylvania // Las Vegas, Nevada // Unnamed, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters – even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you.

I first discovered the Vampire Academy series in late 2009 and found myself quickly devouring all the books that were out. Then I had to wait for Spirit Bound and I was nervous and antsy and rushed out to my local Borders (RIP pretty book store) and snapped up a copy the day it was released. But then I realized there would be a wait until the last book would be released and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle it so I held off reading until I had a pretty copy of Last Sacrifice sitting on my bookshelf. AND that’s where my fear of endings started to take hold of me because once I read the last two books in this series then they would be over. That’s it. No more Rose. No more Lissa. No more Dimitri. And I. COULD. NOT. HANDLE. THAT. So I ignored the books and knew in my heart of hearts that all was well as this series wasn’t over just yet. At least, not for me.

Then earlier this year I was looking for a book and stumbled over Spirit Bound and it looked so sad sitting on the shelf unread and I thought that maybe now was the time to finish this series. Or at least, get one step closer to finishing. So I picked it up, dusted it off, and after five years of waiting I cracked open its pages and was sucked back into this world. Oh how I missed this world and these characters and just everything about it. I was mad at myself for waiting so long to read but I think that the wait made it all better and I savored the words more as a result. You might think that it would be hard to pick up a series after five years and I will admit there were a few things I didn’t remember. But Richelle Mead’s little reminders in the text on the backstory quickly cleared up any issues I had. For while I may be terrible with names and faces I have an excellent memory for things I’ve read.

Spirit Bound Quote

Spirit Bound was filled with action and feels and I found it hard to put down once I picked it up. This story finds Rose graduating from school and starting her adult Dhampir life. There are threats all around her and she’s reeling from a bad break up (to put it mildly) and trying to move on with someone new. And oh my stars was I not so happy about that at first but then I accepted and cheered and had my heart broke. Because evil authors are evil and Richelle Mead really knows how to write stories and characters that you get invested in. Though the worst part of this whole book was its ending. That was just so very evil!! Not Orphan Queen (my review) level of evil but bad enough to make me glad that I didn’t read this one right when it came out. I would have struggled with the wait to learn what happens in Last Sacrifice after that.

Let’s also just pause for a moment and think on the title, Last Sacrifice, I just…I just can’t. So it should come as no surprise that I haven’t picked that one up yet. But I want to because I need to know what happens to Rose next because seriously….that ending! Those final words!!! Killer!!! I’m still struggling with my endings phobia but I think that soon. Very soon. I’ll be able to give that one a go. After all I do have the Bloodlines series to keep me warm and living in the Vampire Academy world.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Divider

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen TurnerA Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief, Book 4
Also in this series: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia
Published by Greenwillow Books on 23 March 2010
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fantasy, Friendship, Mythology, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 316
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Letnos, Sounis // Elias, Sounis// Bremmis, Sounis // Attolia // Eddis

First Line(s): My father sacked another tutor.

 

Many moons ago I received an ARC of A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner and I meant to read the first books in the series right there and then. But as so often does life and other books got in the way and I didn’t think about this series again until late last year when I finally picked up The Thief (my review.) While I haven’t loved the series as much as others I know I did really enjoy The King of Attolia (my review) and was really looking forward to diving into A Conspiracy of Kings. Unfortunately, I didn’t like A Conspiracy of Kings as much as The King of Attolia but I did find it to be a quick read.

 

A Conspiracy of Kings follows Sophos, who we first meet in The Thief and his journey from when we last saw/heard about him in previous books. A lot has changed in Sophos’s life and he’s had to grow up fast and has been thrust into the political shenanigans and turmoil that Sounis has become. But Sophos remembers traveling with his friend Gen over the mountain pass in Eddis and he’s learned a few tricks of the trade when it comes to deception and survival and so he’s often able to make the best of a bad situation.

 

Conspiracy of Kings Quote

 

As with the previous books, the events in A Conspiracy of Kings are pretty nonstop which makes it hard to stop turning the pages. I just didn’t connect with Sophos as much as I ended up connecting with Gen or Costis. Costis’s story in The King of Attolia really intrigued me and got under my skin and I was really hoping that A Conspiracy of Kings would be further tales of him but alas that was not to be. I think, that disappointment is partially to blame on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much.

 

Overall though, The Queen’s Thief is a well plotted and well written fantasy series. I am glad that I finally made the time to read it and am joining ranks with all the other Megan Whalen Turner fans who want more stories from her. Goodreads lists that there will be a fifth and a sixth book in The Queen’s Thief series but its been five years since A Conspiracy of Kings came out that who knows when or if these books. Though, looking at the time span between previous releases perhaps all hope isn’t lost. If you are looking for a “new” fantasy series and you haven’t picked this one up yet then you may want to give it a try.

 

irishdarkblue

 

 

Irish Recommends - Thief

 

Add The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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

Divider

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Movie Thoughts: Home (3D)

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Review0 Comments

HomeTitle: Home (Official site)
Tag Line: Worlds Collide
Release Date: 27 March 2015
Rating: G
Runtime: 94 min
Genres: Animation | Fantasy | Comedy | Adventure
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Theater (screening)
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation
Distributed By: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Tim Johnson
Writer(s): Adam Rex (novel), Tom J. Astle (screenplay), Matt Ember (screenplay)
Stars: Jim Parsons (Oh), Rihanna (Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci), Steve Martin (Captain Smek), Jennifer Lopez (Lucy Tucci), Matt Jones (Kyle), Brian Stepanek (Gorg Commander / Father / Boov), April Lawrence (Boov Announcer)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Home is the newest animation release from Dreamworks studios and is loosely based on the book, The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. Though I didn’t realize it was based on a book until the end credits and as I’ve
Home1 never read this book I can’t make any comments on how true it is to the story. However, based on what I’ve read of Smekday’s synopsis there are several surface changes in terms of names and locations. But not knowing it was based on anything else allowed me to just sit back and enjoy this cute film.

I became interested in this one when I first saw the previews and they had me cracking up. Jim Parson’s voicing of Oh is perfect and there are times in which Oh is the Boov version of Sheldon Cooper. Just Sheldon Cooper’s less smart self and all of his social akwardness. There is also a little Oh in all of us, Home2where we all just want to be liked and that we often make mistakes along the way. Rhianna also does a great job as Tip and when I hear Rhianna speak as herself its hard to mesh her adult self with the 13 year old animated girl she plays so well. Tip is full of sass and fire and she copes so well when aliens invade her world and somehow miss her in their relocation of all the Earth’s humans to other locations on the planet.

Tip and Oh meet under hilarious circumstances and while Tip is rightfully cautious of Oh he immediately takes to her and wants to be her friend. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she can help him escape as he has made one mistake too many with his Boov allies and he’s a wanted Boov. The two travel together and along the wayHome3 Tip learns to see past her initial reaction and learns to like Oh for who he is and the two become friends. And through Tip, Oh learns a lot as well. Tip is brave and filled with hope even in the most dire of circumstances. She’ll run towards danger if she thinks that she has a shot at helping someone else. Which is a concept foreign to the Boov and a great message for Oh and young viewers. Its ok to be scared but being scared doesn’t mean you aren’t incapable of doing that difficult task ahead of you.

Home is filled with action and adventure and lots of laughter that kids and adults will enjoy. There is the slapstick humor that is more readily accessible to younger audiences and also the more subtle sarcastic moments that will Home4appeal to adults. Its truly a film that will appeal to all generations. Though all is not filled with laughs as I will admit that there as a time or two when I totally teared up with what was happening on the screen. (Stupid animated movie trying to make me cry!)

All in all Home is a fun movie and Tip is a great role model. We need more girls like Tip on the big screen. She’s smart and funny as well as flawed and real. I also loved that she was a character of color. I enjoyed most everything about this film and my quibbles are all minor and not worth mentioning. Home is filled with wonderful animation and was just a joy to watch. Totally worth seeing.

My Recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre, though don’t think 3D adds anything extra to this one.

 

irishdarkblue

 

Divider

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Half Wild by Sally GreenHalf Wild by Sally Green
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)
Series: Half Bad, Book 2
Also in this series: Half Bad
Published by Viking Juvenile on 24 March 2015
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Verdon, France // Unnamed, France // Black Forest, Germany // Veltarlin, Norway // Unnamed, Slovakia // Barecelona, Spain // Etxalar, Spain // Basle, Switzerland // Geneva, Switzerland // Unnamed Wales

First Line(s): a crossbill calls

I read Half Bad by Sally Green last year and it was an unexpected good read. It was a book that I didn’t know much about and one that I instantly connected with. When I finished Half Bad, I immediately wanted to dive into the sequel and that is exactly what I did when I received an ARC for review. I did have more expectations for Half Wild than I did with Half Bad and there were some things that I really liked with this book and others that I didn’t care for as much. As with the first book I read Half Wild pretty quickly. Its a fun read and I just love this world but there is a lot about this story that makes it very much a transition novel as when I look back on it not a ton actually happens.

There is a lot of running around in this story as Nathan searches for Annalise and while I did like Annalise in the first book I just didn’t get her draw in this one. Especially with some of the things that happened with Gabriel. Because WOW that was some amazing story development and to be honest those were some of my favorite moments in the book. I get Nathan’s nostalgia for his past and his childhood and how Annalise was one of his bright moments in an otherwise bleak life but I really did not like her. And her inclusion in the story and Nathan’s subsequent treatment of Gabriel really took me out of the story.

Half Wild Quote

Another, aspect of the story that I really liked was getting to know Nathan’s father more. I enjoyed those scenes and found them important to the development of Nathan’s character. However, there could have been more depth to them and it just seemed as though Marcus was underutilized as a character. There was so much potential in Half Wild but it just seemed to miss the mark every time an arrow was shot at the target.

Despite that though I am hopeful for how this series will end as most second books in a series are just filler material for the big climax at the end. Although I do have some concerns with what the big climactic moment of Half Lost might be as the focus of this story seemed to veer away from Black Witches vs. White into something else over the course of this book. I do think that Half Wild is worth the read just for the Nathan and Gabriel scenes alone but the rest of it? Well, the rest of the story I could probably do without.

irishdarkblue

 IR - Half Wild

Add Storm Front by Jim Butcher to Goodreads.

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Divider