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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Blog Tour Excerpt: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (1)

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Title: NEVERNIGHT

Author: Jay Kristoff

Pub. Date: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Pages: 448

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

Excerpt

She snapped to her feet, stiletto drawn, her shadow writhing across the tiles toward him. The Dweymeri boy had drawn his scimitar, two more throwing knives poised in his other hand. Dark saltlocks of matted hair swayed over his eyes. The tattoos on his face were the ugliest Mia had ever seen, looking like they’d been scrawled by a blind man in the midst of a seizure. Yet the face beneath . . .

The pair stood watching each other, still as statues, moments ticking by like hours as the gale howled about them.

“You have very good ears, sir,” she finally said.

“You have better feet, Pale Daughter. I heard nothing.”

“Then how?”

The boy offered a dimpled smile. “You stink of cigarillo smoke. Cloves, I think.”

“That’s impossible. I’m upwind from you.”

The boy glanced at the shadows moving like snakes around his feet.

“Seems to be raining impossible in these parts.”

She stared at him. Hard and sharp and lean and quick. A rapier in a world of broadswords. Mercurio was better at reading folk than any person she’d known, and he’d taught her to sum others up in a blinking. Whoever this boy was, whatever his reasons for seeking the Church, he was no psychopath. Not one who killed for killing’s sake.

Interesting.

“You seek the Red Church,” she said.

“The fat man wouldn’t take my tithe.”

“Nor mine. We’re being tested, I think.”

“I thought the same.”

“It’s possible they’re no longer here. I was heading into the wastes to look.”

“If it’s death you seek, there are easier ways to find it.” The boy gestured beyond Last Hope’s walls. “Where would you even start?”

“I was planning on following my nose,” Mia smiled. “But something tells me I’d do better following yours.”

The boy stared long and hard. Hazel eyes roaming her body, cool and narrowed. The blade in her hand. The shadows at his feet. The whispering wastes behind him.

“My name is Tric,” he said, sheathing the scimitar at his back.

“. . . Tric? Are you certain?”

“Certain about my own name? Aye, that I am.”

“I mean no disrespect, sir,” Mia said. “But if we’re to travel the Whisperwastes together, we should at least be honest enough to use our own names. And your name can’t be Tric.”

“. . . Do you call me liar, girl?”

“I called you nothing, sir. And I’ll thank you not to call me ‘girl’ again, as if the word were kin to something you found on the bottom of your boot.”

“You have a strange way of making friends, Pale Daughter.”

Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it to heel.

“I’ve read the Dweymeri cleave to ritualized naming rites. Your names follow a set pattern. Noun then verb. Dweymeri have names like ‘Spinesmasher.’ ‘Wolfeater.’ ‘Pigfiddler.’ ”

“. . . Pigfiddler?”

Mia blinked. “Pigfiddler was one of the most infamous Dweymeri pirates who ever lived. Surely you’ve heard of him?”

“I was never one for history. What was he infamous for?”

“Fiddling with pigs.1 He terrorized farmers from Stormwatch to Dawnspear for almost ten years. Had a three- hundred- iron bounty on him in the end. No hog was safe.”

“. . . What happened to him?”

“The Luminatii. Their swords did to his face what he did to the pigs.”

“Ah.”

“So. Your name cannot be Tric.”

The boy stared her up and down, expression clouded. But when he spoke, there was iron in his voice. Indignity. A well- nursed and lifelong anger.

“My name,” he said, “is Tric.”

The girl looked him over, dark eyes narrowed. A puzzle, this one. And sure and certain, our girl had ever the weakness for puzzles.

“Mia,” she finally said.

The boy walked slow and steady across the tiles, paying no attention to the black beneath him. Extending one hand. Calloused fingers, one silver ring—the long, serpentine forms of three seadrakes, intertwined—on his index finger.

Mia looked the boy over, the scars and ugly facial tattoos, olive skin, lean and broad shouldered. She licked her lips, tasted sweat.

The shadows rippled at her feet.

“A pleasure to meet you, Dona Mia,” he said.

“And you, Don Tric.”

And with a smile, she shook his hand.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 O, stop giggling and grow up.

jay

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is a New York Times and international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

His LOTUS WAR trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, ILLUMINAE, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015 and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. ILLUMINAE is currently slated to be published in twenty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.

Jay’s new fantasy series, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, commences with book 1, NEVERNIGHT, from St Martins Press/Thomas Dunne Books and Harper Voyager in 2016. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in 2018. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13,030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Instagram | Goodreads

Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Tour Stops

Week One:

8/1/2016- Dark Faerie Tales Interview

8/2/2016- Once Upon a Twilight– Review

8/3/2016- Supernatural Snark– Interview

8/4/2016- Nerdophiles– Review

8/5/2016- The Book Cellar– Interview

 

Week Two:

8/8/2016- MEREADALOT– Review

8/9/2016- Ticket to Anywhere– Interview

8/10/2016- The Young Folks– Review

8/11/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

8/12/2016- Mundie Moms– Review

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Blog Tour: A Week of Mondays

Posted by Irish in Misc0 Comments

Blog Tour: A Week of Mondays

Guest Post

If you could relive the same day over and over again, what would you do? What would you change? Would you change yourself?

As I started writing A WEEK OF MONDAYS, I knew I wanted this to be a reinvention story. I wanted Ellie to essentially re-create herself every single day in order to figure out who she really is by the end. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? We try on different personas. We post different kinds of pictures on Instagram. We reinvent ourselves over and over in hopes of finding our true identity.

 

The key to Ellie’s reinvention, when it came to this novel, was her 7 different looks for the 7 different Mondays. Each day she tries on a different version of herself. Fortunately, for this piece of the story, I had help. My little sister, Terra Brody, is an assistant costume designer in Los Angeles. She’s worked on hit TV shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Scandal, and Shameless. For each Monday, I gave her “character notes” for the role Ellie was trying to play and she helped me put together a concept board to represent the “look” for that day. She does similar boards for when she’s costuming a character in a TV show.

As part of the A WEEK OF MONDAYS blog tour, I’ll be sharing 6 of the 7 concept boards that we created for the book, as well as the final “looks” we put together for each Monday.

The 7th board is a secret…as is Ellie’s true identity. (Until you read the book, anyway.) ☺

Here is the concept board for the Third Monday.

Character Notes: Ellie now realizes that she’s reliving the same day and wants to use her predicament to stop Tristan from breaking up with her. After googling, “How to stop a boy from breaking up with you” she finds a book called The Girl Commandments, which is supposed to teach women exactly how to act around men. (Obviously this is meant to be a joke.) The book tells Ellie that women should always look feminine and put-together. So that’s what she attempts to do.

 

The Third Monday - Board

 

Third Monday - final look Tour Stops

See the rest of Ellie’s ‘looks’ here!

First Monday: Fierce Reads

Second Monday: Andi’s ABCs

Third Monday: Ticket to Anywhere

Fourth Monday: For What It’s Worth

Fifth Monday: Mundie Moms

Sixth Monday: Nite Lite Book Reviews

A Week of Mondays_Cover Image

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Amazon, Goodreads

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true…

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Audio Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Listening Library on 05 April 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

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

First Line(s): Seven hundred and thirty-three days after my mom died, forty-five days after my dad eloped with a stranger he met on the Internet, thirty days after we then up and moved to California, and only seven days after starting as a junior at a brand-new school where I know approximately no one, an email arrives.

Dear Reader,

Let me tell you three things:

1) There aren’t enough words to in the universe to tell you how much I loved Juile Buxbaum’s TELL ME THREE THINGS

2) This is a book that I’ll re-read over and over and over again

3) If I learn that you haven’t read this book then expect me to bully you to do so because I know your life will be forever made better as a result.

I promise you dear reader, TELL ME THREE THINGS, is a super duper wonderful book. This book hit all the right notes for me and I just loved every word. I just love the trope that was used in this book, with the secret correspondence and I was so super happy when my guess on who Somebody/Nobody was proved correct. The ending of TELL ME THREE THINGS gave me all those wonderful heart achy feels that I love and if I hadn’t been listening to the audio on my phone I totally would have hugged this book when I finished it.

The narrator of TELL ME THREE THINGS, Jorjeana Marie, was a new voice for me (or at least I don’t recall the name) and I thought that she did a wonderful job in bringing Jessie and all these various characters to life. My only real complaint was in the reading of IMs and emails as they are often more of a visual thing and easier read in print than heard over audio. So there are parts of me that wish I’d read this book but then there is a bigger part of me that listened to the story as I did love Jorjeana Mareie’s style. She did a great job with not just Jessie but all the characters and I never had an issue telling who was who. She also had a great pacing and delivery so it was easy to get lost in the story. Well, as lost as one can get while still paying attention while driving!!

Tell Me Three Things Quote

My one big complaint with TELL ME THREE THINGS and what prevents me from giving the book 5 stars was the complete personality transplant of one of the characters. Its something that seemed to come out of no where and I kind of go whiplash from the whole thing. I can understand where said character was coming from but right up until the explosion it was all systems go lets act how we’ve always been acting. I get that sometimes people do bottle things up inside but even there there are still usually some clues that there is a rift brewing. I just think that overall the whole could have been handled better so that it meshed better with the story. Because as it was it just seemed forced and manufactured – drama for the sake of drama – and there really was no need for the drama.

Overall though, TELL ME THREE THINGS was a delightful story and I hated for it to end. Its a book that I wish I could read again for the first time and one that I know will have a forever home on my shelf. Its full of real, flawed, and yet perfect characters that I would want to be friends with . (You know if they were real and I had to relive those pesky teen years over again.) TELL ME THREE THINGS is a well written and well plotted story and I hated to stop listening each day. Its a book to get lost in and one that I can’t recommend enough. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book you go forth and one click it now!! Like for reals….NOW!!

you're welcome

irishdarkblue

IR - Tell Me Three Things

 

Add P.S. I Like You by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett to Goodreads.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

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

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. SchneiderSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 03 May 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 291
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Seattle Washington // Honolulu, Hawaii

First Line(s): The condom must’ve broke. Her words, not mine.

SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider was one of those books I was really looking forward too because I knew several people who had read it and loved it. This wasn’t an over-hyped book and the synopsis made it seem like it was such a me book that I was eager to give it ago. The start of SUMMER OF SLOANE was fabulous and everything I was hoping that it would be and more. That is until around the 75% mark where this book made a complete 180 and left me wondering WTF I just read. There was so much potential for SUMMER OF SLOANE and there was already a lot of drama in the book without the story going where it went. Those last final bits just pushed it too far over the edge into the ridiculous and had me wanting to toss the book across the room.

Sloane is a likeable enough character who is dealing with a lot. Like seriously, her best friend and boyfriend not only hook up behind her back but they also end up pregnant. Sloane does what any self respecting girl does, she yells at her friend and punches her boyfriend in the nose. Sadly she doesn’t know how to through a punch and ends up breaking her hand in the process. She then plans to spend the summer with her mother and twin brother in Hawaii trying to get over the past and figure out who she is without the two people who meant the most of her. Two people who refuse to give her the space she asks for and who badger her constantly to forgive them and take them back because losing her friendship is too much for them to bear. That’s right folks, the faux-BFF and Ex-boyfriend never really apologize or take responsibility for the shitty things that they do and only care about how Sloane’s ignoring them makes them feel. Oh how I wanted to slap them both a hundred times over!!!

Summer of Sloane Quote

But Sloane is doing ok without them. She has her brother, she has her summer friends in Hawaii and she also meets Finn who may just help her forget her terrible ex. These are the parts of SUMMER OF SLOANE that I loved and connected with. They are the parts that had me rapidly turning the pages as Sloane discovered who she was without being part of the trio that she was back in Seattle. Finn was a great character and I loved how he and Sloane where together. Then SUMMER OF SLOANE took a dive off the crazy train and went from being a great book to me wondering what the heck I just read. There are misunderstandings which happen often enough in books but its how these characters react to them that had me reeling. Rather than talking they make these grand assumptions and then think that cheating is the answer. Because it worked so well when it happened between Sloane’s ex and her faux-bff. *insert eye rolling here*

I get that these characters are teenagers and maybe their actions make sense to that demographic but its not something I was able to get behind. Mainly because I’ve been cheated on in the past and its not something that can ever accept as being a way to solve a problem. SUMMER OF SLOANE is a book that I wish I could stop at a certain point. That part where I was still emotionally invested and loving every word. The ending of SUMMER OF SLOANE was just a mess that almost ruined the entire book for me. I became annoyed at all the characters and the payoff just wasn’t worth much of what came before. I did think that SUMMER OF SLOANE was well written I just wish it hadn’t introduced all that WTF-ery into the story. While SUMMER OF SLOANE isn’t a book that works for me on every level I do see the appeal of it and know of many a person that I can recommend it to as I know they’ll enjoy it more than me.

irishdarkblue

IR - Summer of Sloane

 

Click here to add From What I Remember by  Stacy Kramer and Val Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatick to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Movie Thoughts: Nerve

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review0 Comments

NerveTitle: Nerve (Official site)
Tag Line: We dare you
Release Date: 27 Jul 2016
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 96 min
Genres: Adventure | Crime | Mystery| Sci-Fi | Thriller
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Movie Theater (screening)
Production Company: LionsgateAllison Shearmur ProductionsKeep Your HeadSupermarché
Distributed By: Lionsgate
Director(s): Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Writers: Jeanne Ryan (novel), Jessica Sharzer (screenplay)
Stars: Emma Roberts (Vee), Dave Franco (Ian), Emily Meade (Sydney), Miles Heizer (Tommy), Kimiko Glenn (Liv), Marc John Jefferies (Wes), Machine Gun Kelly (Ty),  Brian ‘Sene’ Marc (J.P.), Samira Wiley (Hacker Kween), Juliette Lewis (Nancy)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see a screening of the the movie NERVE which is based off of a YA book by Jeanne Ryan. I haven’t read this book so I didn’t know too much about the movie before nerve 4walking into the screening other than what the previews showed. NERVE is shown mostly from the point of Venus, called Vee by friends, who is your stereotypical sheltered good girl who longs to break out of her shell. When her BFF Sydney starts to play the hot new game, NERVE which is a mobile app that dares players to do crazy and outlandish things for cash. The more watchers a player has and the more daring the dare the more money they make as they race to be among the final two to win the game.

I wasn’t a big fan of Sydney as she is that typical faux-BFF that is seen all too often in YA books. Where nerve 3she’s only a friend when the other person does what she’s told and doesn’t outshine her. So when Vee not only joins the game as a player but also starts to gain a following Sydney is not happy. As Vee plays the game she meets up with Ian, a bad boy on a motorcycle, and they pair up to try and gain more followers. Ian helps Vee to break out of her shell and to see just how brave and capable she is but all may not be as it seems. This bad boy comes with some secrets and Vee is the one who ends up facing the consequences.

NERVE is a fast paced movie that provides a good social commentary on the internet and mob mentality. Its so easy to be a watcher and to remain anonymous as you egg others on to do things that nerve 5you probably wouldn’t encourage otherwise. Like to commit acts of theft, kiss a stranger, or moon a crowd during a football game. When you are anonymous, you are removed from events and so have the false sense of security that even though you are watching you aren’t culpable no matter what is going on in front of you. Or in how you might help in bringing certain events into being. The explosion of NERVE’s popularity among Vee and her friends is swift and addictive and like so many things on the internet seems like harmless fun. Things do take a darker turn as the movie progress and its a good reminder that even in real life there is a dark side to the internet and its always best to proceed with caution.

I enjoyed NERVE and I liked how it was shot both from Vee’s POV and from the POV of the watcher. nerve-film-1024As a member of the audience there are times when you are viewing the scenes as if from inside of a computer. You see just how unaware the players sometimes are of the things that are going on around them and how they are always watched even when the player thinks they are alone. As a viewer you also see just how invasive this game goes into each players personal life. Its scary sometimes to think about the access some of the harmless seeming phone apps we use on a daily are but in reality just how much data mining are these apps doing?

I definitely enjoyed NERVE more than I thought I would and I am definitely more curious about the book now and how it compares. I liked Vee and the journey that she takes over the course of this movie. Are things crazy over the top sometimes? Yes. But its a movie and an action one at that so I don’t expect it to be 100% realistic. But at the same time I can see something like NERVE taking a city by storm. I can see kids and adults alike wanting to take part and for these dares to come about. So in that sense the movie does have a realistic vibe to it. Even as everything does get tied up nicely at the end.

My Recommendation: Worth seeing but more of a Netflix night than a night on the town type of movie.

Bechdel Test

 

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?

Also known as the Bechdel–Wallace test, the test is named after the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, in whose comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For it first appeared in 1985. Bechdel credited the idea to a friend, Liz Wallace, and to the writings of Virginia Woolf. The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added. Only about half of all films meet these requirements, according to user-edited databases and the media industry press. The test is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction due to sexism.

NERVE Bedschel Results:

1. Does it have at least two named women? Yes
2. Who talk to each other? Yes
3. About something besides a man? Yes

 

Pass

 

irishdarkblue

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review: Leveling the Field by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Leveling the Field by Megan EricksonLeveling the Field by Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers, Book 4
Also in this series: Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble
Published by Entangled Brazen on 02 May 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 162
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Willow Park, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): The guy was late. Lissa Kingsman glanced at the clock on the wall of the office and tried not to look as irritated as she felt.

Ever since we first meet Ethan in Megan Erickson’s PLAYING FOR HER HEART (my reivew). I always love a good tortured hero story and I couldn’t wait to meet the girl who would break Ethan out of his shell. And Lissa did not disappoint. LEVELING THE FIELD is the final book in Erickson’s Gamers series and Ethan is the perfect character to conclude the series. I loved getting to know more about him and I loved watching as Lissa helped to break him out of his self-imposed solitude. Lissa is a fierce, strong heroine who doesn’t put up with any of Ethan’s bullshit and I loved that about her. I also loved her family and so it kind of makes me sad that this series is over because we won’t be able to see more of them, particularly her brother who I just adored. As with the other books in this series, the secondary characters really help to make the story and I loved being able to check in with characters from the previous books.

LEVELING THE FIELD is a short book and I do wish that it had been longer but this story totally sucked me in and kept me up into the wee hours of the night. I liked the tension between Lissa and Ethan and their chemistry but do with that they had more time together to be with each other and not just hooking up. Seemed liked they’d meet up, hook up, get into a fight and then part for a couple of weeks and then repeat. It was frustrating to me because I just wanted them to be together and find that happily ever after that I knew they each deserved. Although Ethan did have a lot of emotional baggage to deal with first and I think that Erickson handled that aspect of the story well. But I do think if could have been better if LEVELING THE FIELD was longer and if maybe Ethan saw a therapist. The man’s issues ran deep and I think that having him talk to a therapist would have been more realistic.

The writing, plot, and pacing in LEVELING THE FIELD is everything that I’ve come to expect in a Megan Erickson book but for me this one didn’t pack the emotional punch as some of her other reads. I think that this story, while dealing with some serious issues, stuck close to the surface and so I didn’t get as emotionally attached as I sometimes do. LEVELING THE FIELD is a good book but its not my favorite of Erickson’s or in this series. But I do think that it is worth the read because Ethan really deserves that happily ever after. I enjoyed LEVELING THE FIELD and I do recommend it I just think that, in this series my heart will always belong to Chad and Owen. <3

irishdarkblue

IR - Leveling the Field

 

Add The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya RodaleChasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, Book 2
Published by Avon on 28 June 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1824)

First Line(s): It was in the illustrious and exclusive Almack’s assembly rooms that Lady Amelia Cavendish, previously of America and presently of England, officially confirmed that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was not all it was cracked up to be, in part because she was not permitted to use phrases like cracked up.

CHASING LADY AMELIA is the second book in Maya Rodale’s Keeping up with the Cavendishes series. A lot of this book happens concurrently with the events in LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY (my review) so it was interesting to get a look at events from different points of view. I found CHASING LADY AMELIA to be a fun, quick read though probably wasn’t my best choice to pick up after reading a Bridgerton book. That family just outshines all others though I do like the bond between the Cavendishes and the humor that they find in their daily lives. They are a quirky lot and I think they’d get along well with the Bridgerton’s though I don’t think that the Ton would survive them both!

Amelia is a totally likable fish out of water character who just wants to find her own place in the world. She is a woman born ahead of her time and so finds herself feeling trapped by the rules of polite society and just wants to go out and explore the world. Which she decides to do for one day because if she’s going to get in trouble for sneaking out she might as well make the most of the situation. Along the way she meets, Alistair Finlay-Jones, who is heir to a title, a past that causes him much angst, and an uncle who thinks it’d be just the thing for the family fortune for him to marry one of those ghastly Americans. There is real chemistry between Alistair and Amelia and I loved the time that they spent together and their journey to a HEA.

Chasing Lady Amelia Quote

 

There were times when CHASING LADY AMELIA totally made my heart ache because of the misunderstandings and inner denials that both Amelia and Alistair go through. But there is no denying that they are each others yin and yang. These two really balance each other out and if anyone can keep adventure seeking Amelia on her toes it is Alistair. I also liked all the appearances of the other Cavendish’s but I wasn’t a fan of all the crazy POVs. There was a lot of head jumping going on and not just between our hero and heroine and that just got old for me real fast. I also found CHASING LADY AMELIA to be repetitive at times and I can understand it, to a point, but oy it got old.

Overall, CHASING LADY AMELIA is a fun addition to the series and I am looking forward to the next installment, LADY CLAIRE IS ALL THAT which is expected out in December of this year. If you are a fan of historical romances then you should probably check this series out. The stories are all loosely based on popular books/movies and its fun to see how Rodale adapts something modern into a historical setting. They are fun books and a good way to spend a summer afternoon or a cold winters day. 🙂

irishdarkblue

IR - Chasing Lady Amelia

 

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake 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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Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel MirandaHamilton: The Revolution by Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Published by Grand Central Publishing on 12 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Non-Fiction
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 288
Narrator: Mariska Hargitay
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
five-stars

Dear Reader

It may come as a shock for you to learn that I am a fan of the musical Hamilton. If it doesn’t….then you know me well and if you like Hamilton too then we can be besties! Anywho, when I heard about the Hamiltome I knew that I had to have it and when I was given an opportunity to review to audio I had to take that too. Because there really can’t be too much Hamilton in ones life. My only regret was that I didn’t have access to either prior to seeing the musical because reading this behind the scenes tale really ups the emotional punch of an already emotional story. I loved this behind the scenes look at the creation of this epic musical and getting a sneak peak at some of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s thoughts when it came to particular lyrics.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION is definitely a book that you’ll want to have if you are a fan of the musical. Its beautifully bound and the pictures just really add to the story vignettes that comprise each chapter. These stories and histories of the musicals creation are enhanced even further as they are often followed by the musicals libretto. This is where the audio suffers and you loose something when all you do is listen. I loved Mariska Hargitay’s narration but all she did was read the chapter text and all of Miranda’s notes are lumped together on a single disc. Without the context of the books layout I think it really hampers ones enjoyment of the audio. So I found myself listening to the audio in the car and then coming home to look at the sections and pictures that the audio skips over.

Overall, though I really enjoyed HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION and if you are a fan of the musical then you will enjoy it as well. This is a great book to give those who haven’t (or can’t) see the musical to get an up close and personal look at some of the staging and costumes. I loved reliving the show by looking at all these visuals and I loved the songs all the more when I knew more about Miranda’s thought process in how they were developed. I’m not gonna lie HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION totally had me tearing up at times and at the end of the book I breathed such a sigh of contentment. Reading this book was such an amazing journey and I’m so very glad that Miranda and company took the time to put it together to release into the world. I love the musical even more now and can’t wait until such times as I can see it again.

irishdarkblue

Click here to read my review of Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Click here to check out the Hamilton Book Tag.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia QuinnBecause of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys, Book 1
Published by Avon on 29 March 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 375
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kent, England // London, England (1779)

First Line(s): It wasn’t that Billie Bridgerton was lacking in common sense.

I’ve always been a fan of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series of books so I was excited to see that she was writing a prequel (of sorts) that goes back in time to visit Billie Bridgerton, who is the infamous Edmund’s quirky older sister. In BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON, Edmund is just a teenager, away at school but through Billie we see that the quirks of the Bridgerton clan are a long ingrained thing and as a reader I wouldn’t have it any other way. Billie’s hero is her long suffering neighbor, George Rokesby, who is heir to an Earldom and the older brother of Edward and Andrew (AKA Billie’s partners in crime.) BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON is a total opposites attract story and I loved every single moment of it.

I just loved the banter between not just George and Billie but with all of the characters. It was real and funny and just helped me to whiz through the pages. I loved how Andrew took great delight in baiting George and Billie because he realized (as did most others) just how perfect they’d be for each other long before they came to that conclusion. Andrew is definitely a character that I adored and I can not wait to read his story! The chemistry between George and Billie leaps off the page and I loved watching journey as they got to know each other and fell in love. It wasn’t an easy journey, because Bridgerton stubbornness and the pride of an English lord but for the reader it was a fun one.

Because of Miss Bridgerton Quote

 

I found that I flew through the pages of BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON and loved all the various layers of the story. There is more to this book than just boy meets girl which just adds to the realism of the story. My one big complaint would probably be that BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON had to end as I hated to say goodbye to these characters. If you look slow burn stories with fun banter and shenanigans then look no further than this book. This story pretty much has it all and totally made my heart ache!! Oh the feels that it will make you feel!!

I hated to put BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON down and the moment I finished I was torn between reading it again or in restarting the original Bridgerton series. While I didn’t do either I do still plan to re-read the original Bridgerton books and fall in love with this family anew. BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGETON is classic Julia Quinn and its sure to delight both new readers and old. I’m eager to see just where Quinn takes these Rokesby brothers next and I hate that I have to wait a whole year for the next book!! At least I’ll have George and Billie and their numerous nieces and nephews to keep me company until then.

irishdarkblue

IR - Because of Miss Bridgerton

 

Add Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas to Goodreads.

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: His Royal Secret by Lilah PaceHis Royal Secret by Lilah Pace
Series: His Royal Secret, Book 1
Published by Intermix on 19 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 185
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya // Cape Town, South Africa // London, England // Gurness Holm, Scotland (2012)

First Line(s): James’s private landline rang.

When I first heard about HIS ROYAL SECRET by Lilah Pace I thought it was going to be such a me book and so eagerly accepted it for review. Before I picked up HIS ROYAL SECRET I decided to read another book by her, ASKING FOR IT and I was worried as I just couldn’t finish that book. I was wary when I finally picked up HIS ROYAL SECRET but I shouldn’t have been because it was everything that I was hoping it would be. HIS ROYAL SECRET is a short book (185 pgs per Goodreads) and so should have been a quick read but for whatever reason it took me far longer to finish than it should have. And its not for lack of reading because once I started I had a hard time putting this one down.

I am a sucker for royalty stories and secret romances and HIS ROYAL SECRET had both of those tropes in spades. James and Ben have such an intense connection that I was cheering them on throughout the book wanting them to get they HEA that they both so deeply deserved. HIS ROYAL SECRET is also filled with complex and wonderful secondary characters and my main complaint with them was that they weren’t featured enough! I would have loved to see more of the Queen, of Cass, of Indigo, of Roberto, of….well you get the picture. But I also loved all the warm moments between James and Ben and watching them get closer as they carried on their secret romance out of the public eye.

His Royal Secret Quote

HIS ROYAL SECRET had a few ups and downs and it dragged a little in the middle but over all this was a book that kept me invested. I stayed up well well well past my bedtime on a work night in order to finish it. I also liked that HIS ROYAL SECRET has an ending which I wasn’t expecting since there is a direct sequel, HIS ROYAL FAVORITE (Goodreads), so I feared a crazy dramatic cliff hanger that would tear my poor heart in two! So if you decide to not read HIS ROYAL FAVORITE I think you’ll be happy but at the same time I was so glad to have a copy of it because I desperately wanted more of these characters.

This is a book that lived up to my expectations and I know that its one that I plan on recommending to many and one that I will also reread. James and Ben were real and vivid characters and their whole story was plausible. I loved the royal backdrop that this one had and the added complications it gave to James and Ben’s romance. I loved how these two dealt with those pressures, among other issues, and worked together to overcome them. I adored that HIS ROYAL SECRET didn’t have any pointless breakups or unnecessary angst. It was a wonderful heartachy read and I think that you should all rush over to your favorite e-reatailer and pick this one up today!! Go on….go! You won’t regret it.

irishdarkblue

IR - His Royal Secret

 

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

Add Us by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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