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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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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Saving Maverick by Debra Elise

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

Review: Saving Maverick by Debra EliseSaving Maverick by Debra Elise
Series: Outlaws of Baseball, Book 1
Published by Bloomsbury on 04 Apr 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Pineville, Idaho

First Line(s): Maverick Jansen woke to the sound of a jackhammer tearing down his hotel room door.

If you know me then you know a couple things, namely that I like New Adult and that while I may not be a big sportsing fan in real life I do adore a good sportsing book. With that in mind one would think that SAVING MAVERICK would be a book that is right up my alley. Especially when you toss in a bad boy in need of redemption and the girl hired to save his image. I had hopes for SAVING MAVERICK but sadly this book failed to live up to them. First, SAVING MAVERICK is billed as a New Adult read but for me it came across as a very adult story. If you go just based on age I think it might just squeak in, though to be honest I can’t remember how old these characters were. But they were all pretty settled and established in their careers and that to me just makes this story lean more towards Adult. For me, New Adult is more college and early career, with characters trying to figure out their place in the world.

Another thing that bugged me about SAVING MAVERICK was that it was filled with errors and random head jumping. Some of the errors I could chalk up to reading an ARC but there were just so many that they became hard to ignore. And the head jumping oh my stars it was just bad. One paragraph we’d be in Kelsey’s head in the next Maverick and then a few pages later a whole new POV just for fun. I don’t mind books with alternate POVs but I do like there to be a little structure to them. The constant changing of POV makes it really hard to keep up with the story and it just gives my brain whiplash as I struggle to keep up!  It also didn’t help to endear me to Kelsey and Maverick who are just two very blah, cliched characters that are pretty forgettable. Sorry folks, no heart achy moments here….or at least none that I can remember.

 

Normally I have a really good memory when it comes to books and plots but when I think back on SAVING MAVERICK I mostly get a blank page in my brain and so am very glad for my Goodreads notes because my kindle has totally failed me. (Why oh why is it deleting my highlights and notes?!? *cries*) But memorability aside, Kelsey and Maverick where your pretty standard fare when it comes to romance characters and their story may have been a good one if the plot wasn’t so muddled with those errors mentioned above and the crazy side plot. The subplot was just too much and was more of a distraction than anything else. It was also very predictable. This whole story was pretty predicable. Not to mention repetitive. So very very very very repetitive. And we all know just how much I “love” repetitive dialogue and storylines. *eye roll*

In the end SAVING MAVERICK wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t good either. It falls somewhere in the middle and was just mediocre for me. SAVING MAVERICK is the start of a series and I’m not sure if I’ll read the other books when they come out. Or at the very least I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to read it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Saving Maverick

Add Act Like It by Lucy Parker to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review: Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Steadfast by Sarina BowenSteadfast by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North, Book 2
Also in this series: Bittersweet
Published by Self-Published on 12 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Health & Daily Living, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 310
Source: Author
Barnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Colebury, Vermont // Montpelier, Vermont // Tuxbury, Vermont

First Line(s): The last time I drove through Colebury, Vermont I sat behind the wheel of a 1972 Porsche 911 restored to mint condition with a sweet new paint job in Aubergine.

STEADFAST by Sarina Bowen is the second book in her True North series and a companion novel to BITTERSWEET (my review.) Its in BITTERSWEET we first meet Jude and learn a little of his backstory but you don’t get the full details of his past until the start of STEADFAST. All that you really know about Jude is that he’s a recovering drug addict and that he spent the last few years in prison. On the Shipley farm he tries to keep to himself as he isn’t used to letting people get close but if you’ve read BITTERSWEET and have met the Shipley clan than you know that Jude was fighting a losing battle. He needs the Shipley’s because Jude is a man who was made to love people even though he hasn’t had the best of luck in finding the right ones to let in.

The Shipley’s aren’t the only ones that Jude learns to love in STEADFAST but we also meet his high school girlfriend, Sophie. The girl he loved above all other, except for maybe his drugs, and the one who he hurt the most when his world came crumbling down. Which means that STEADFAST has one of my favorite tropes, the second chance at love scenario and I just knew I was going to like it. And like STEADFAST I did, I just didn’t love it and I can’t fully put my finger on why. Because I liked Jude, more than I thought I would even, and I liked Sophie and I liked their story but something just seemed a bit off. Perhaps it just seemed a little too fast and that forgiveness came too quick that it didn’t seem real.

Steadfast Quote

There was also the whole subplot plot that while realistic also didn’t fully mesh well in my brain with the story that I was expecting. That and the ending just felt so rushed. I made a goodreads comment during one scene at the end where things just escalated very quickly that I got reader whiplash and thought to myself, what just happened? The events aren’t things that come from out in left field but I just think that it would have worked better in my brain if there were more words leading up to it. But this is just a me thing I am sure because I am an Angelica and I am never satisfied. I also really want Zach’s story and I think my desire for that may have taken away some of my eagerness for STEADFAST.

Overall though, I did enjoy Jude and Sophie’s story and was happy that they found their HEA at last. I was happy to see how Bowen incorporated the Shipley clan into this book because I loved seeing that whole family again. I liked the journey that Jude took because it wasn’t an easy one and it had its up and downs but it was real and raw and an important story to tell. As with all Bowen’s books, STEADFAST is a quick and engrossing read and it is hard to put down once you start. Bowen has a real gift for writing real relationships and I just love the families that she makes in her books. STEADFAST can be read as a standalone but I think that it works better if you first meet the Shipley’s and learn all of their quirky ways in BITTERSWEET.

irishdarkblue

IR - Steadfast

 

Add Lead by Kylie Scott to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Double Full by Kindle Alexander to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino HassellFast Connection by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove, Book 2
Also in this series: Strong Signal
Published by Self-Published on 11 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Pages: 260
Format: eARC
Source: Author
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Staten Island, New York // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): The smell of bagels permeated the entire shop.

FAST CONNECTION is the second book in Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Cyberlove series and features a minor character in that book, Dominic Costigan, who I will freely admit I didn’t like all that much in STRONG SIGNAL (my review.) But I shouldn’t have doubted the Erickson/Hassell writing team because they sure did deliver on a character with a lot of heart and lovability and oh how my opinion of him changed. In fact, this time around I found myself getting annoyed with Garrett and how he treated Costigan in this story! Boy did some of those text/phone conversations just break my heart because Costigan really needed a friend and Garrett was just being an ass.

Good thing that Dominic met Luke because oh my stars did those two have chemistry!! I just loved the two of them together and it just about tore me in two when they had drama. Which then made me want to glower at Garrett some more since Dominic didn’t have someone that he could rely on. FAST CONNECTION was such a heart achy read and I had so much trouble putting it down. I loved the connection between Dominic and Luke and their story was so real and raw and just everything that I love in a romance book. And its so hard to talk about everything that I love about FAST CONNECTION because words are hard and I don’t want to spoil.

Quote from: http://meganerickson.org/

Just know that FAST CONNECTION has it all. There are likable characters, even when they do stupid stubborn shit that makes you just want to shake them. There are real storylines that make your heart hurt. There are secondary characters that flesh out this story and just add to its depths and layers. There is emotion and romance and ALL THE FEELINGS!!! So many feelings and its a book that can be read as a standalone even though its listed as part of a series. Yes, there are connections and allusions to STRONG SIGNAL but I don’t think readers will be all that lost if they haven’t read that book yet (though you should be cause its awesome) but for me FAST CONNECTION was even better because to me it just felt more real. The issues that Dominic and Luke face are ones that I can relate to more and these two don’t enable each other. Instead they tend to call each other out on their bullshit which is part of why they have drama.

FAST CONNECTION is a book that kept me up as I couldn’t put it down. I was so sucked into this story and as I’ve said in various different ways just hit all the right notes with me. There really isn’t anything that I would change in this story….well except the stupid angsty drama that tore a hole in my heart…but other than that FAST CONNECTION was a wonderful roller coaster read and one that I know I’ll be re-reading a time or two (or a dozen) in the future. I really like the Erickson/Hassell writing team and I can not wait to see what these two have in store next. Because they need to co-write more. It’ll make me a sad little blogger if they don’t they just mesh so very well together.

irishdarkblue IR - Fast Connection

 

Add Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy to Goodreads.

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Six of Crows, Book 1
Published by Brilliance Audio on 29 Sept 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Mystery & Detective, People of Color, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2016 Reading Challenge
Narrator: Brandon Rubin, David LeDoux, Elizabeth Evans, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Tristan Morris
Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Ketterdam, Kerch // Dierholm, Fjerda

First Line(s): Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.

Narrators: Jay Snyder (Matthias), David LeDoux (Kaz), Brandon Rubin (Jesper), Lauren Fortgang (Inej), Roger Clark (Pekka), Elizabeth Evans (Nina), and Tristan Morris (Joost)

Confession time, although this won’t come as a surprise to some, but I did not like SHADOW & BONE (my review). It was such a struggle to get through and I just couldn’t be bothered with the other books in that series. So when I heard that Leigh Bardugo’s next series was also set in the Grisha universe I wasn’t sure if I would read SIX OF CROWS. But I was curious and so I kept sussing out what people thought about it and then when I was looking for a new audiobook it just up and stumbled into my basket. The SIX OF CROWS audio is a full cast recording and uses different narrators for each POV. I was intrigued by this and it wasn’t long before the story grabbed a hold of me in a way that SHADOW & BONE never did.

Curiosity

I’ll admit SIX OF CROWS did start a little slow but it wasn’t long before I was engrossed in the story. I loved how all the different narrators approached this story and the life that they gave to these characters. Each narrator really helped bring out the personality of the characters, not just the one of the POV they were acting out but all the characters that they voiced. It was interesting to see how the narrators saw the others in this motley crew and I never had any issues figuring out who was who. I also found it  very help to listen to the audio as I’m sure I’d have stumbled over many of the names and words used in this book.

Six of Crows Quote

At its heart SIX OF CROWS is a heist story and if you like a good heist story then you will like this book. There is intrigue and betrayal and a whole lot of shenanigans. But its also a story of friendship, of family, and of finding oneself despite all of the odds. Its a coming of age story and its even a love story on some levels. There really is something for everyone in SIX OF CROWS and its fast paced enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I know that I spent every free moment I could listening to this audio because once I became invested in this story I couldn’t stop listening. I just wanted to know more and when I hit the end I was bereft because it was over.

Another thing I like about SIX OF CROWS is that it has an ending. Oh there are still things that are left to be done and even a wee cliff hanger but you know were most of the players stand and you see the set up for things that will happen in CROOKED KINGDOM. But best of all, its not predictable. I have no idea where this story is going I just have my hopes and my fears on what Bardugo is going to go. SIX OF CROWS is an intricately woven story and I h ave no doubts that CROOKED KINGDOM is going to be the same. There are twists and turns around every corner and a whole lot of heartache and shenanigans ahead.

I did not expect to like SIX OF CROWS as much as I did. I wasn’t even sure that I would read it. But I am so very very glad that I did because I was so engrossed in this story. For me, its a whole different style and delivery than SHADOW & BONE. The characters have more depth and they are smart and feisty and while flawed they aren’t broken. Bardugo weaves in the history of the Grisha world and the backstorys of this crews expertly in the story that there are no slow info dump moments. SIX OF CROWS is definitely a story that can be read independently of SHADOW & BONE. So if you haven’t gotten around to reading that one yet, or if you are like me and you didn’t like it all that much I would say that you can easily pick this one up and know what is going on with the world and not be lost.

thumbs up

irishdarkblue

IR - Six of Crows

Add The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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