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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: Play On by Michelle Smith

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

Review: Play On by Michelle SmithPlay On by Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek, Book 1
Published by Spencer Hill on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 258
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Lewis Creek, South Carolina //Beaufort, South Carolina

First Line(s): Forget Friday night lights – in Lewis Creek, South Carolina, its baseball or bust three nights a week.

When I first heard of PLAY ON by Michelle Smith I knew that it was a book that I had to read. I am a sucker for a good contemporary romance and the early buzz on this one was high which worried me a bit as well because we all know how hyped up books and I get along. But unlike some of the mega blockbusters out there this was a quiet and steady buzz that really peaked my interest. Then once I picked up PLAY ON I found that I couldn’t put it down. At under 300 pages this was a quick read and a fun way to spend a couple of hours. I liked the world that Smith created and I loved the depth of all of her characters. I also have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for this book to be told in entirely Austin’s POV. I’m used to alternating POVs or a contemporary romance to be told only through the girls eyes so it was kind of refreshing to only see Austin’s side of things.

And oh what a sweetie Austin was! A true southern gentleman through and through who loved his momma and who just dripped southern charm. It was easy to picture someone with a strong southern accent reading this book and I really wish there as an audio version available to do just that. Austin was adorable but not without his flaws. He was sweet and stubborn and like with many other characters I’ve read about there were times when I just wanted to shake him. I loved how he was with Marissa and how they were together as they first became friends and then something a little more than that. I also like how PLAY ON wasn’t just a straight boy meets girl contemporary and how there were deeper issues at play.

Play On Quote

For a small book, PLAY ON contained so much within its pages. Smith crafted an amazing world with an eclectic cast of characters. PLAY ON is  story about baseball and school and depression and friendship. Its about first loves and making mistakes and then learning how to overcome obstacles. Its a book that made me laugh at times but one that also hit me right in the feels. Its a realistic story and I just got lost within its pages. I fell for all of these characters and I’m so happy that we’ll be returning to this world in GAME ON (goodreads) because I hated to let them all go. The summary of this one really doesn’t do it justice for all that there is in this book. Each page reveled something new and that ending…oh it was a good one.

PLAY ON is the sort of book that I’d love to see as a TV Show and its a book that will totally appeal to all those who love and miss Friday Night Lights. This book wasn’t perfect but it hit all the right notes with me at the time that I read it and I’m able to ignore all of its flaws. It gave me those heart achy feelings that I love and stayed with me long after I closed the final page. This is a book that I strongly recommend so if its not on your shelf or ereader yet then you should fix that using the handy dandy links provided above. Then come back here and tell me how much you loved it and how you are longing for Eric’s story too, because really, who doesn’t love a book with a bad boy?

irishdarkblue

IR - Play On

Add First & Then by Emma Mills to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add On the Fence by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Come Back to Me by Mila Grey

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Come Back to Me by Mila GreyCome Back to Me by Mila Gray
Series: Come Back to Me, Book 1
Published by Pan Macmillian on 19 June 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Oceanside, California // San Diego, California // Kabul, Afghanistan // Unknown, Guam

First Line(s): A whorl in the glass distorts the picture, like a thumbprint smear over a lens.

COME BACK TO ME by Mila Gray is one of those books that I requested and then forgot I had until a couple of my friends started talking about it on Twitter. The buzz made me excited to rediscover this book as it contains one of my favorite tropes, falling in love with a siblings friend. It just gets me in the feels…every…single…time. This one had the added draw of military men and I just dove right in. At first I was wary because of the opening. I am never a fan of openings that start in the middle of a story before flashing back to how it all began. As much as I loved the TV show FLASHPOINT I always hated that it used that trope to open each and every episode. So with COME BACK TO ME you learn right off that something terrible is going to happen but you aren’t entirely sure what and then before the reveal it cuts back to a few weeks earlier.

COME BACK TO ME is primarily the story of Jessa and Kit, who is the best friend of Jessa’s older brother and also despised by Jessa’s dad. This set up ensures that there is lots of tension throughout the book as Kit and Jessa initially have to keep their growing romance a secret. Things heat up fast for Kit and Jessa and as a reader you fall hard right along with them. The sparks are real and the chemistry just sizzles off the page. They are so sweet with each other and I love how Kit respects Jessa and encourages her to follow her dreams because her father is hell bent on trying to keep her locked up like a child. Jessa is 18 and she’s not allowed to drive, have a phone, stay out late, or even choose her own college. Her fathers behavior made me all ragy and that coupled with some of the language just gave this book a 1950s vibe at times.

Come  Back to Me Quote

Deplorable parental figure aside this book just makes you feel ALL THE THINGS!!! There were times in which I thought my poor heart my break in two. My Goodreads updates are just a jumble of emotions as I rushed through COME BACK TO ME in order to see how it all ends. Even with the predictor in the opening it still comes as kind of a shock to the gut when you see how it all places out. In that way COME BACK TO ME makes me think of GOD-SHAPED HOLE (goodreads) and THE BOOK THIEF (goodreads). And like with many romance books there were a few times when I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into the characters. To get them to talk to each other and find their happily ever after.

The conflicts in COME BACK TO ME were all realistic and there was no pointless breakup in site. This made me very happy as regular readers know how much I don’t like that trope. That said I really really really could have done without the epilogue. Oh my stars every time I see an epilogue I tell myself not to read it. That reading it will only lead to disappointment and yet I always ignore my own advice and then find myself rolling my eyes or sighing at how cliche it all is. I’ve yet to meet an epilogue that I like and one day I really will stick to my advice and avoid reading them. I swear! But one thing that I will read more of are books by Mila Gray because I just fell head over heels for this one and I think that you will like it too. After all, we all need a sucker punch to the gut sort of read in our lives.

irishdarkblue

IR - Come Back to Me

 

Add Rule by Jay Crownover to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Full Measues by Rebecca Yarros to Goodreads.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Make it Count by Megan Erickson

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

Review: Make it Count by Megan EricksonMake it Count by Megan Erickson
Series: Bowler University, Book 1
Published by William Morrow on 03 June 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Bowler, Maryland // Cross keys, Maryland

First Line(s): Kat chewed on her pen and studied her tutor’s bent head.

MAKE IT COUNT by Megan Erickson is the first book in her new adult series series set at the fictional Bowler University. The story alternates between Kat the stereotypical beautiful girl who isn’t considered to be the smartest by all those around her. She dates a lot and goes through a lot of tutors and just seems to have trouble settling on something. Though at the start of MAKE IT COUNT she does have a steady boyfriend, Max although he’s a bit of an ass throughout the entire book. He doesn’t treat Kat the best and I don’t know why she puts up with it except that she does have poor self esteem and has been conditioned to be pretty and not smart. That’s where Alec comes in. Alec is Max’s roommate, best friend, and math geek. He becomes Kat’s new tutor and the two of them start to connect.

This is where a gray line begins to form in MAKE IT COUNT and although Kat and Alec have an attraction and become closer they don’t cross the line until after Kat and Max break up. Though its a very fine line that they walk until then. But you know me, I am not a fan of books with cheating or love triangles and I can honestly say there is no cheating in MAKE IT COUNT. That’s not to say that MAKE IT COUNT doesn’t have its frustrations. Kat is particularly frustrating because I find it hard that she made it as far as she did in life without people learning a certain thing about her. Though at the same time you do have to admire how far she’s come despite all the difficulties and struggles she’s had to deal with.

Make it Count Quote

MAKE IT COUNT was filled with stereotypes and the dreaded…oh so dreaded lack of communication. I know that there needs to be drama and conflict in a novel but MAKE IT COUNT had enough of that without adding in obtuse characters who refuse to speak to each other. And like many a book the ending of this one felt a little rushed. I am also concerned with the fact that Max is supposed to be the hero of the second book in this series, MAKE IT RIGHT (goodreads), because he’s just such an absolute ass throughout this book and he’s a terrible friend to Alec. Though I also thought that Jimmy and Silas were irredeemable characters and they have both become two of my favorite romantic heroes.

While MAKE IT COUNT isn’t my favorite new adult novel it is a quick read and filled with that romantic tension that Megan Erickson is so good at. Her books are always very readable and easy to get lost within its pages They are quick reads and a fun way to waste a few hours without having to think too much. MAKE IT COUNT is a great book to toss in your beach bag as you spend your day by the sea. And while I am on the fence about MAKE IT RIGHT I will probably read it at some point because I do usually enjoy a Megan Erickson book.

irishdarkblue

IR - Make it Count

 

Add The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Deal by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

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

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin BenwayEmmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Published by Harper Teen on 23 June 2015
Genres: Abduction, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, California // San Diego, California

First Line(s): Oliver disappeared after school on a Friday afternoon, way back when we were in the second grade, and small things seemed really important and important things seemed too small.

This has been the year of contemporary reads for me and when I first received a copy of EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway I was intrigued by its premise and knew it was a book I wanted to read. But then life got in the way and it dropped off my radar until around the time it was released and several of my blogger friends began to talk about it. This prompted me to dig out my copy and I settled down to read it. EMMY & OLIVER is a quick read and for the most part I was totally engrossed in its story. The story is set in the now when one of the title characters Oliver, is returning home after many years of being away having been kidnapped by his dad. He returns to family and friends who have moved on but have also stood still while he’s just moved on. Everyone in the story has been affected by Oliver’s kidnapping, especially Emmy whose parents became even more over protective than they may have normally done. She has a super early curfew and she’s not allowed to do anything dangerous and so has to sneak off to do the things she loves, like surf.

While Emmy’s parents are super involved in her life they are also a bit clueless as I don’t see how they’ve managed to miss the fact that she’s been surfing for years. Surfboards aren’t an easy thing to hide after all and sand is one of the most clingy trackable things ever. I know this, I grew up on the beach and my parents always knew when we’d come home from a swim. So there were times when things seemed a bit hard to swallow. But nothing bugged me more in this book than the interludes. These short little snippets of different ages in Emmy’s life as she reflects on things. They never failed to pull me out of the story and the very last one just had me sighing so hard in frustration which left a slight sour taste in my mouth on the final pages instead of sighing happily in heart-achy feels. EMMY & OLIVER was also an odd mix of tense where one moment it was in the present and then another it seemed like the future looking back and it just threw me.

 

Emmy & Oliver Quote

While I didn’t always like how the story was told I did like Emmy & Oliver’s story. I loved how they were childhood friends and how even when apart they still kept the memory of the other alive. Although Oliver was definately more present in Emmy’s world than Emmy was in his. But that is understandable when he was raised on the run and she was raised in the shadow of his absence. I enjoyed her friendships and I loved watching as Emmy & Oliver reconnected with one another. This is what I’d call a slow burn story and while I didn’t always think that timelines and plot points were done in a cohesiver and logical way I did like the story of Emmy and Oliver. They fit together and gave me the warm and happy feels that I love in a book. I only wish we got to spend more time with them as a couple as the whole ending felt a bit rushed.

EMMY & OLIVER is mostly a light hearted contemporary novel with these pockets of intensity. Oliver is such a fish out of water for much of the book trying to find his place in a life that still thinks of him as being seven years old. Everyone in this story had to relearn each other in a crash course and it wasn’t always an easy journey. Oliver is grappling with fact that his mother never abandoned him and also with the new family she’s created during his time away. EMMY & OLIVER is often an engrossing read and despite my issues I did find it hard to put it down. This was I story I thought about when I wasn’t reading it. Robin Benway is a strong writer with distinctive plots. I like her story lines and I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

irishdarkblue

Emmy & Oliver Collage

 

Add Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa DareWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Castles Ever After, Book 3
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess
Published by Avon on 25 August 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Invernesshire, Scotland (1817)

First Line(s): Dear Captain Logan MacKenzie, There is but one consolation in writing this absurd letter. And that is that you, my dear delusion, do not exist to read it.

The fake fiance/boyfriend isn’t a new trope in the romance world but what happens if that fake fiance you created, wrote letters to and then killed off suddenly showed up on your doorstep. This is the dilemma that Madeline Gracechurch faces at the start of Tessa Dare’s newest book WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT. This is the third book in her Castles Ever After series but unlike most romances there is little to no connection between these books so they can be read independently or in any order. Of the books in this series, WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT is my favorite. It was filled with so much humor that I often found myself laughing out loud. I just loved Maddie and her aunt and also her Captain.

In order to read WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT you have to suspend belief just a bit when it comes to Maddie’s letters making it to some someone with the name of her invented fiance and that all the details she’d mention would be real. But once you get over that its so easy to get lost in the story. I adored Logan and loved his interactions with Maddie. I loved that he read her rambling letters and got attached to her before he’d even met her. Granted he did have other reasons for wanting to marry Maddie but once you understand his motivations its hard not to adore him. Plus the chemistry between Logan and Maddie practically sizzles off the page and they quickly became one of my favorite Tessa Dare couples (Minerva and Colin though are still tops.)

 

When a Scot Ties the Knot Quote

WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT is a fast paced, full filled story that I found hard to put down. It had me laughing one moment and then making my heart ache in the next. There were times when Maddie and Logan frustrated me when they refused to communicate but over all I just loved them. Overall, though Maddie and Logan were so good together. I loved the trust that Logan showed in Maddie and the genuine love between them both. Maddie is smart and sassy and Logan appreciates and encourages it even as he gets all wigged out by her interest in the natural world. This just makes him all the more lovable because he is a big tough soldier and yet he’s afraid of bugs. It was entertaining to say the least.

If you enjoy a good historical romance then you really should consider picking up a Tessa Dare. Her books are always a good time and the pages just fly by as you get lost in the story. They are always filled with a little humor and contain smart women. Tessa Dare is one of my go to authors when I need a good pick me up to get lost in for a bit. When you pick up a Tessa Dare book you know you are in for a good time and that is definitely the case with WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - When a Scot Ties the Knot

 

Add One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-buy Authors

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday7 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 our auto-buy authors. You know those authors where you find yourself clicking pre-order the moment the button becomes available. There are so many authors that I buy the moment they have a book out so this was a hard list to compile but here are the first ten that came to mind.

Orphan Queen Quote

1) Jodi Meadows (read my reviews: Incarnate, Asunder, The Orphan Queen)

Since You've Been Gone Quote

2) Morgan Matson (read my reviews: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You’ve Been Gone)

Never Judge a Lady Quote

3) Sarah MacLean (read my reviews: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart, A Rogue by Any Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, Never Judge a Lady)

Understatement of the Year Quote

4) Sarina Bowen (read my reviews: The Year We Hid Away, The Year We Fell Down, Blonde Date, The Understatement of the Year, The Shameless Hour, Him)

All the Rage Quote

5) Courtney Summers (read my reviews: Cracked Up to Be, Some Girls Are, Fall for Anything, This is Not a Test, All the Rage, Please Remain Calm)

The Start of Me and You Quote

6. Emery Lord (read my review: Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You)

on the fence3

7. Kasie West (read my reviews: Pivot Point, Split Second, The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, The Fill in Boyfriend)

When a Scot Ties the Knot Quote

8. Tessa Dare (read my reviews: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot (goes live 19 Aug), The Beauty and the BlacksmithA Lady by MidnightA Night of SurrenderOnce Upon a Winter’s EveOne Dance with a DukeTwice Tempted by a RogueA Week to be Wicked)

Something Real Quote

9. Heather Demetrios (read my reviews: Something Real, I’ll Meet You There)

Something Like Normal Quote

10. Trish Doller (Something Like Normal, Where the Stars Still Shine)

irishdarkblue
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen CallihanThe Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On, Book 2
Also in this series: The Hook Up
Published by Self-Published on 05 May 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 309
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Georgia // New Orleans, Louisiana // San Francisco, California

First Line(s): Mr Grayson, my father tells me he lent you my car.

Regular readers may recall that I did not like Kristen Callihan’s first book in the Game On series and so you might wonder why I picked up book 2. Well, friends, let’s just say that I am a glutton for punishment sometimes and I couldn’t help but being curious about Gray’s story after meeting him in THE HOOK UP (my review). I walked into THE FRIEND ZONE with pretty low expectations and fully expecting to mark it as a DNF. For if this book annoyed me even half as much as THE HOOK UP there was no way that I was going to torture myself by finishing it. However, instead of another frustrating read I found myself really invested in this story. I adored Gray’s character and loved the chemistry that he had with Ivy. I liked that they started as friends first and had a good solid foundation with which to build on before becoming something more.

These two totally made my heart ache and made me feel all the feels. THE FRIEND ZONE totally slayed me at times with all the push and pull between Gray and Ivy. While they were good friends these two certainly had their ups and downs as they struggled between remaining friends or maybe pushing things into something more. Of course, it didn’t help that Gray was a bit of a manwhore before he met Ivy and so that gave her some added insecurities. Fortunately, despite some miscommunications along the way these two were able to find their way to a happily ever after.

Friend Zone Quote

Another thing that I enjoyed about THE FRIEND ZONE was that Gray wasn’t your typical dumb jock. He was in fact very smart and loved math and played football mostly for the love of the game. I loved how he loved numbers and how Callihan worked that love into the story. I loved that Gray and Ivy dealt with some serious issues and managed to come out on top. Their story was one that totally sucked me in and refused to let me go until I reached the final page. Its amazing just how different that I felt with THE FRIEND ZONE from the THE HOOK UP. Its almost as if they were written by two different people even though I know that is not the case.

I fell hard for THE FRIEND ZONE and think that there is much in it for others to love as well. I liked the secondary characters, even the brief appearances by Drew and Anna from THE HOOK UP. THE FRIEND ZONE has totally redeemed Callihan as an author for me and now I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, THE GAME PLAN (Goodreads). Even though a part of me keeps telling myself that I should keep my expectations low in case the magic of THE FRIEND ZONE can’t be duplicated again. But even if it isn’t than I will always have Gray and Ivy’s story and I know that this is one in which I’ll re-read again in the future.

irishdarkblue

IR - Friend Zone

 

Add The Mistake by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All Broke Down by Cora Carmack to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review + Excerpt: The Darkest Flame by Christina Lee

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

Review + Excerpt: The Darkest Flame by Christina LeeThe Darkest Flame by Chrstina Lee
Series: Roadmap to Your Heart
Published by Self-Published on 17 August 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 265
Format: eARC
Source: Publicist
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Tennessee

First Line(s): “Bottoms up.” I poured tequila in the three shot glasses in front of me. “Extra limes if you need ’em.”

Chistina Lee is one of those authors where I find it hard to resist reading when she has a new book out and so when a copy of THE DARKEST FLAME landed in my inbox it wasn’t long before I was cracking it open and settling in to read. THE DARKEST FLAME could be considered a companion to THERE YOU STAND (my review) as you first meet Smoke and Vaughn in that story and Jude and Cory do make a small cameo here. But you don’t really need to know what happened in THERE YOU STAND in order to enjoy THE DARKEST FLAME. Though it does help with some background information to be familiar with THERE YOU STAND, Lee does do a decent job of recap the important need to know events so a new reader won’t be totally lost.

There was tension in DARKEST FLAME right from the start between Vaughn and Smoke and I loved watching their journey towards each other. Living in the world that they do of motorcycle clubs and manly men its hard to admit to liking guys when you aren’t sure how this rough and tumble crowd will react. So Vaughn and Smoke just stare and torment each other as they hook up with women and long for the other guy. In many M/M romances its usually one guy is out and out gay and the other is bi/questioning in DARKEST FLAME both men are bi-sexual and wish that they could more openly act on their feelings. The chemistry between Smoke and Vaughn literally sizzles off the page and it doesn’t help either of them that events keep pushing them together into closer and closer quarters.

Darkest Flame Quote

I really enjoyed Vaughn and Smokes story but I did feel that it was a little choppy at times and some things just didn’t make sense to the story at hand. Though I did read an ARC so some of those things may have been corrected in the finished version so I won’t mention them here. The dialogue at times also didn’t seem like it was guys talking but I also don’t live in a man’s head so maybe it is more realistic than I know. I also felt that things were a little repetitive at times and that the ending was a bit rushed. While I do so love a happily ever after there was just something that felt a bit off and inconclusive about the one in DARKEST FLAME.

DARKEST FLAME is a fast paced story and I’m growing to like this world that Lee is creating with her motorcycle club. I’ve never been big on MC books but I am growing to like these characters that Lee has created and I am curious to know more about them. So you can be sure that I will be reading the next book in this new series of hers the moment I am able to get my hands on it. These are just fun stories with a hint of darker things to them and very different from her earlier books in the Between Breaths series.

irishdarkblue

IR - Darkest Minds

 

Add Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

 

 

Excerpt

I grabbed my hold of keys and tried not to slam my way out the door. I didn’t know why the hell I was so rattled by Vaughn tonight. I mean, I had been every night, but something about the idea of him being with somebody else right in front of my eyes, made me crazy with need. Need that it felt like only he could fulfill.

As soon as I got to my bike I realized I’d left my cut in the break room. I stood outside attempting to rein in my uneven pulse. I didn’t know what the fuck had come over me. Breathing more steadily, I stepped back through the door only to find the bar empty. I’d just grab my leather vest and leave him in peace.

“I forgot my…” I stopped in my tracks because Vaughn stood motionless in the middle of the floor, veins bulging in his neck, as if he’d implode at the slightest touch. He was always moving and talking with a restless energy in this bar so his stillness was a bit startling.

“Hey.” I gingerly placed my hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry if I—”

There was instant recoil, as if he were attempting to contain the vortex of tension between us by vacuuming it in through his skin.

He twisted toward me, his eyes latching onto mine, right before I was slammed against the door.

The wind was practically knocked out of me as Vaughn sank his weight against my smaller frame. We were groin to groin, heartbeat to heartbeat.

“Fuck, Vaughn, you’re—” Heaving breaths surged through my nostrils. “I was going to suggest a truce.”

“Yeah?” he mumbled, his gaze fastening on my mouth. “What sort of truce?”

TDFteaser
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: Opening Up by Lauren Dane

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Opening Up by Lauren DaneOpening Up by Lauren Dane
Series: Ink & Chrome, Book 1
Published by Forever on 16 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Erotica, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 313
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Bellevue, Washington // Edmonds, Washington // Seattle, Washington

First Line(s): “I don’t even know who that is, but I’d like to take several large bites.”

Opening Up is the start of a new series by Lauren Dane and focuses on PJ Colman and Asa Barrons. PJ is a bit of a black sheep in her family as she’d much rather paint custom designs on cars than walk the corporate path but she puts her time in the office in the hopes of her family listening to her business ideas. However, as the youngest and most wild of the clan she’s often overlooked and put down by her family. Eventually things come to a head and she quits to form her own business. Business that brings her into Asa’s path as he owns a custom garage and hires her to do paintwork on his jobs.

There is all the requisite tension between the two which is only highlighted by the fact that Asa thinks he’s too old for PJ.  Asa is no match for PJ though. She’s smart and sassy and she knows what she wants and its everything that Alpha male Asa is able to give her. I loved Asa and PJ together and thought that they had real chemistry. There may have been an age gap but these two are pretty evenly suited to each other. PJ is the yin to Asa’s yang and even though there is much awkward and cheesy dialogue I just loved how these two fit with each other.

Opening Up Quote

What I didn’t love was PJ’s family. They were all sorts of vile and manipulative. PJs sister and one of her brothers weren’t all bad but when her family was bashing and belittling her they didn’t stand up for her either. Telling PJ after the fact how wrong they were means little when you don’t do it in the moment when you had the opportunity to do so. I’m not sure how PJ put up with most of the Colman clan when she was doing so much better on her own than when she worked for the company. But then family is a fickle thing and its always hard to let go of blood.

OPENING UP was a quick read and I enjoyed it in the moment. I liked how there was no pointless breakup but as with most romances these days the ending felt rushed and while OPENING UP includes an epilogue it really didn’t do much to close out the story. I’m also not a fan of epilogues in general and I always tell myself that I won’t read them when I encounter them but then I do and I am always disappointed. Epilogue aside I’m glad that I read OPENING UP and I am looking forward to seeing how this series progresses with the next book FALLING UNDER (goodreads) which will be Duke’s story.

irishdarkblue IR - Opening Up

Add Call on Me by Roni Loren to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Fight with Me by Kristen Proby. (Click here for my review.)

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley FitzpatrickThe Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: My Life Next Door, Book 2
Also in this series: My Life Next Door
Published by Dial on 18 August 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Reading Challenge
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Stony Bay, Connecticut

First Line(s): I’ve been summoned to see the Nowhere Man.

 

I really don’t know where to begin on bringing my thoughts about THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO by Huntley Fitzpatrick as I just fell head over heels for this story. I first fell for Tim Mason when he made an appearance in MY LIFE NEXT DOOR (my review) and I was so happy when Fitzpatrick announced that he was getting his own story. But I was a bit wary as well as there were part of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR that I could have done without. I didn’t need to worry though because this book was such an amazing read that I found hard to put down once I started it. Tim’s story just made my heart ache and I just loved how he was with Alice. Though I could have done without the whole Brad storyline especially since it just felt so unresolved. There were things started that weren’t followed through on and it just seemed to have been forgotten about towards the end.

To say I had a lot of feelings for THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO is an understatement you just have to look at my Goodreads updates to see that I had a lot to say and that doesn’t even include all the notes and highlights that I made throughout my egalley. THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO just hit all the right notes for me. This book gave me ALL THE FEELS and I just wanted to reach into its pages and hug Tim a half dozen times over. I loved how he was with Alice and I mostly loved how their relationship progressed. I also loved the addition of the younger Garretts which says a lot because normally I’m pretty anti-children in books since they always seem so forced. The secondary characters were all delightful and I loved each and every one…well with the exception of Nan, Grace Reed, and Tim’s dad. Those characters I just wanted to shake and kick out of the story.

 

Boy Most Likely To Quote

THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO isn’t a perfect book but it was perfect for me during the time in which I read it. I loved the growth of Tim’s character from how he was at the start of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. I loved how he stepped up and did the right thing even when there were questions on if it really was his responsibility or not. Though I do think that that part of the storyline was wrapped up a little too neatly for realism. But its a book and when you love a book you can forgive its flaws which is what I do with THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO. Oh all Fitzpatrick’s books this one is my favorite. I think it will always hold a special place in my heart for just how well Fitzpatrick dealt with a difficult issue and with how she portrayed Tim’s growth and maturity.

This is a book in which I’ll sing its praises to anyone who asks. Its one that you can read independently of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR as Fitzpatrick does do a good job of explaining what came before but to get the full picture it probably is best to read in order. I liked how there was no big WTF-ery in this one as I found with MY LIFE NEXT DOOR and I loved Alice’s strength when she was dealing with the vile Grace Reed. Oh how I disliked Grace Reed!! THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO is a fast paced read that you won’t want to put down. You’ll get sucked into its pages and just fall in love with this world and the Garretts all over again. This one is a must read so you should run write out and grab a copy of it today.

irishdarkblue

IR - Boy Most Likely To

Add First & Then by Emma Mills to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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