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Genre: Friends to Lovers

Friday, January 6, 2017

Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Off Base by Annabeth AlbertOff Base (Out of Uniform, #1) by Annabeth Albert
Published by Carina Press on January 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Contemporary Romance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Status Update, Love Me Tenor, Beta Test

Place(s) Traveled To: West Hollywood, California // Coronado, California // San Diego, California

First Line(s): “What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now.

OFF BASE is the newest release from a new favorite author of mine, Annabeth Albert. I’ve been devouring everything she’s written and so was very excited to get my hands on this one. Especially since its a spin off of her #gaymers series which I adored. We first meet the main characters in OFF BASE, in CONNECTION ERROR (review coming soon) and Zack seems even more up tight than he was when we first meet him. Its a good thing that Pike worms his way into his life because he is Zack’s opposite in many ways and the two of them really work well together.

OFF BASE is filled to the brim of heart achy feels because Zack is just so tortured about who he really is. He’s been brainwashed since he was young that being gay was wrong and he’s faced nothing but homophobia since which has made it hard to be comfortable in his own skin. Things start to change when he is roomed with Ryan in the VA hospital and he starts to see another side to what he thought he always knew. I loved all the moments between Zack and Pike and the cameos of Ryan and Josiah. They all just made my heart sing. What I didn’t like was the homophobia that ran rampant throughout the book. It just made my skin crawl whenever Zack’s teammates said something or when Zack talked to his parents.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the relationship between Pike and Zack. I do wish that Zack was a little more comfortable in who he was but I understood it. I also liked watching Pike come into his own as he found his grove in teaching. I liked that he learned that sometimes the unexpected path could lead to something even better than what he dreamed was possible. And once Pike and Zack started to put their difference aside this story because a favorite enemies to lovers story. There was just so much tension between Pike and Zack that I couldn’t stop turning the pages in order to see how they would reach their happily ever after.

I find that Annabeth Albert really excels at writing a feel good story that often packs a punch to the emotions. Her characters are real and raw and they are all so uniquely drawn. Every story she tells does follow a certain path but there is always a fresh spin that keeps me coming back for more. The are quick, engrossing reads that I just suck up when I get my hands on one. I lose track of time until I hit the final page and then I am sad because I can’t read the story for the first time again. If you are a fan of MM Romances then you really want to give Annabeth Albert a try.

Add Just Drive by L.A. Witt to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

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

four-stars
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Review1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi CullinanEnjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing, Book 2
Also in this series: Dance with Me
Published by Self-Published on October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2012)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me

First Line(s):  One cool October day, after a dispiriting seven hours of teaching privileged kindergarten children, Spenser Harris returned to his apartment to discover a teenage boy – battered, bruised, and coiled into a ball – in front of his door.

ENJOY THE DANCE is the second book in Heidi Cullinan’s Dancing series and takes place about a year after the events in DANCE WITH ME (my review) ends. While this book features cameos from people that we’ve met before the two main characters are new ones to the reader, Spenser and Tomas. Both of whom I really liked and I also really liked their story and the journey that they took over the course of the book. I liked how they became friends first and then worked up to something more. I liked the slow burn aspect of this book but also liked that it wasn’t so slow that I lost interest. I also liked how Spenser and Tomas interacted with the people around them.

What I didn’t like about ENJOY THE DANCE was just how much was going on in this book. There was the issue with Duon, there was the political aspect, and then there was what was going on with Tomas’s family. Just one of those plot points would have been a lot but all three together and it all got a bit jumbled and distracting. The political portion of the story line, while an important part of modern history, isn’t something that I really want to encounter to the extent mentioned in this book. As a bit of filler here and there fine but it was just so much. Although, I do think that part of this dislike of mine comes from politic fatigue. We are in the midst of Presidential election season and I’m just really really really tired of politics. So this portion of the story may not have bothered me if I’d read it at a different time.

ENJOY THE DANCE is a quick read and I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I would have liked. I think if there was more focus on the romance and less on the political situation than I would have liked it more. I enjoyed the cameos of the characters we knew and I won’t be surprised if Duon eventually gets his own story. The boy has been through a lot of the course of the two books in this series and ENJOY THE DANCE ends in 2015 so there is potential for it. Speaking of the ending, ENJOY THE DANCE had an epilogue that did not suck. You know me reader, I am not a fan of epilogue but I think that Cullinan did a good job with this one. Although I did think that the timing of things didn’t seem entirely plausible for a 3 year stretch from the start. A year, maybe, but three? It just seemed forced. But overall, I liked it and I liked how Tomas and Spenser’s story ends. Unlike make of Cullinan’s books I didn’t find this ending to be too sugary although it does end in a way that is so very Cullinan.

If you are a fan a Cullinan, then you will like ENJOY THE DANCE. There is a lot to like about this book and I think that new fans and old will enjoy it. ENJOY THE DANCE can be read as a standalone book but there is something added when you know the other characters involved. This was a quick read for me and I do look forward to reading more of what Cullinan comes up with.

enjoy-the-dance-quote

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: three-stars
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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,
Published by Avon on 29 March 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Pages: 375
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
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.)

 

four-stars
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Kings Rising by CS PacatKings Rising by CS Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit
Published by Berkley Books on 02 February 16
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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

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

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

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

Kings Rising Quote

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

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

 

 

Kings Rising Thoughts

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

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

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

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

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

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. PacatPrince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince, Book 2
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Captive Prince

Place(s) Traveled To: Chastillion, Vere // Fortain, Vere // Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Marlas, Vere

First Line(s): The shadows were long with sunset when they rode up, and the horizon was red.

After finishing CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat (my review) I couldn’t get the story out of my head so had to get my hands on the second book in the series, PRINCE’S GAMBIT. PRINCE’S GAMBIT picks up right where CAPTIVE PRINCE ends and is filled with even more tension and political intrigue. It’s also in PRINCE’s GAMBIT where the romance between Laurent and Damen really starts to heat up. Though this series is still what I’d call a slow burn in the romance department. There are no grand declarations in this book but lots of forays into what is to come and of course drama and tension. But not crazy over the top drama or angst. Everything about PRINCE’S GAMBIT is real, raw and organic and I just couldn’t put this book down!! I loved the push and pull between Damen and Laurent as they worked together against the Regent and also worked toward forging a bond.

In CAPTIVE PRINCE, you learn that Laurent has essentially been on his own and had to keep his own council since the day that his father and older brother were killed. He doesn’t trust easily and there are still so many secrets between Laurent and Damen so you know that shit is about to get real before these two can find a happily ever after. As I mentioned about, the tension is off the hook in PRINCE’S GAMBIT and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next. The political intrigue that is the baseline of the story really hits its stride as events that were started in CAPTIVE PRINCE start to unfold. Laurent, as usual, always seems to be several steps ahead of the rest and yet there are still some things that take him by surprise which makes for much edge of your seat reading.

Prince's Gambit Quote

I totally fell in love with this story and liked it even more than CAPTIVE PRINCE. I stayed up late to read it with my heart racing for much of the last half of the book. Not that this book has a ton of crazy action to it, because it doesn’t, but the political drama and of course the growing relationship between Laurent and Damen really sucks the reader in. Although, the super big fancy words that Pacat is so found of did distract a bit from the story. Using words like expostulation in place of protest just seemed so unnecessary and while I do hate when books are dumbed down there is such a thing as trying to hard to sound smart. I think that this series could have stood just as strong with words more commonly used than some of the word choices that Pacat makes.

Overall though, I loved PRINCE’S GAMBIT and found it even more compelling that CAPTIVE PRINCE. I was hooked from word one and am so glad that I decided to give this series a shot. Its such a heart achy read and has defied all of my expectations. Its so rare for a hyped up book to live up to the hype for me and this series is one of those few that make the cut. When I finished PRINCE’S GAMBIT I was DYING for KINGS RISING because I just couldn’t wait to see how the series ended. This is definitely one series where you’ll want to have access to all the books before starting because the cliff hangers between each are killer!!

 

irishdarkblue IR - Captive Prince

 

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

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

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

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

four-stars
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

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

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo CousinsNothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: Bend or Break, Book 2
Also in this series: Off Campus
Published by Samhain Publishing on 03 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 249
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Off Campus

Place(s) Traveled To: Colchester Falls, Iowa // Carlisle, Massachusetts

First Line(s): The girl whose nonstop monologue about intersectionality and film had kept him company for eleven hundred miles – from the East Coast all the way to the cornfields of Iowa – kicked him to the vurb in the pre-dawn hours, duffel bag at his feet, banjo case strapped across his back.

NOTHING LIKE PARIS is the second book in Amy Jo Cousins’s Bend or Break series and stars a secondary character from the first book, Jake. Jake was a bit of a bully in the last book and despite the reasons he thought he had the school has a low tolerance for bullies and he’s put on probation and might be kicked out. As a result he heads back to the small town where he is from feeling as though all his hopes and dreams are over and not sure where he will go from there. When he returns home he runs into his old boyfriend, Miguel. The two have some issues to work out but from the moment that their paths cross again there is chemistry. For the most part I liked their relationship and story better than OFF CAMPUS (my review) but I still had some issues with it.

Most especially with all the derogatory comments about Community Colleges. Miguel is a small business owner taking classes to get a degree and Jake kind of shits all over that. Jake thinks it would be better for Miguel to go to his big fancy school and that it was the only way for Miguel to live his dreams. But it seemed like Miguel was living his dream and that the only thing that was missing was someone to love and share that with. It seriously went up my butt sideways though all the horrible comments made on Community Colleges. Community Colleges can make for a great stepping stone to a four year college and they have some tougher and more challenging curriculums than some four year universities. Credits and that Associates degree are also transferable so I hated the implication that NOTHING LIKE PARIS gave that they weren’t, that the time Miguel spent at a Community College was wasted and he’d have to start from scratch at a four year university if he transferred to one. *hulk smash*

Nothing Like Paris Quote

My issues with how Cousins deals with Community Colleges aside, and when I strip away my ragey feelings, I did enjoy NOTHING LIKE PARIS. I have always had a soft spot for second chance romance stories and NOTHING LIKE PARIS did hit all the right notes there. I loved traveling though Jake and Miguel’s journey as their story made my heart ache. I was cheering for them all the way through to their happily ever after. Though I do wish that there had been a little bit more from that ending which felt a little inconclusive to me. Although maybe we’ll get mentions of Jake and Miguel in other books in this series so I’ll have to read them to find out.

I don’t think that NOTHING LIKE PARIS will ever be a total fan favorite for me but it was a quick read and kept me entertained on the plane ride home from Greece. Its a good brain candy sort of read that would make a good beach or crappy weather read. I liked how Cousins redeemed Jake from the first book and how he made amends for his actions. I always do enjoy a good redemption story because the characters are always so much stronger in the end. I enjoyed the bond that regrew between Miguel and Jake and they are characters that I will miss now that their book is over so I do hope that we see them again, some how, as the series progresses.

 

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Nothing Like Paris

 

Add Focus on Me by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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

three-stars
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Missing Dixie by Casey Quinn

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

Review: Missing Dixie by Casey QuinnMissing Dixie by Casey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams,
Also in this series: Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas
Published by William Morrow on 27 October 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas

Place(s) Traveled To: Amarillo, Texas

First Line(s): “I need a Michelob light, two jack and cokes, a bourbon on the rocks, and a Sex on the Beach,” a waitress named Kimberly calls to me over the crowded bar.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I continued this series all the way to its bitter end. Perhaps because my copy of MISSING DIXIE was a review book because I’m not entire sure that I cared if she and Gavin ever found their Happily Ever After. Especially when I stop and really think about this book and realize that if the two of them just talked to each on page one then the entire 300 page story could have been avoided. Now remember kids, this is 300 pages on top of a whole other book so don’t go picking this one up thinking its a standalone. You really need to read the first half of the story, LEAVING AMARILLO (my review), to get the full scope of what the heck is going on and just how frustrating these two characters are.

There really isn’t much that happens in MISSING DIXIE that couldn’t have happened in LEAVING AMARILLO. Sure some editing would have come into play but there would have been a more cohesive story that didn’t feel like it was overly drawn out. Because seriously, how often can two people angst about not being with the other person and mope about as they refuse to talk to each other. I did like Dixie a little better in this book, she was less of a doormat but still allowed herself to be emotionally manipulated more often than not by those around her. Especially Gavin who would need her desperately one moment then refuse to talk to her the next saying they could never be. Oy, talk about running hot and cold!

Missing Dixie Quote

As with the previous books, there are no shades of gray in this world. Everything is either black or white and there is no compromise. So Dixie can either act as a foster mother to a needy boy or she could have a music career as there is no way for a musician to ever possibly be a parent. *insert eyeroll here* The whole story line with Liam left me feeling a bit cold and disconnected because it just didn’t fit in the context of this book and the story of Gavin and Dixie. It was just one more thing that was put in MISSING DIXIE to draw out this story when everything should have been resolved in LEAVING AMARILLO.

I also felt that the ending of MISSING DIXIE was rushed and tied up a little too neatly. After how slow the story was getting up to that point it was all wham bam thank you ma’am this book is done. If the pacing was better than maybe I would have liked MISSING DIXIE more than I did. It wasn’t terrible but its not a book that I’ll be rushing to recommend to folks either. Though at least in MISSING DIXIE, Casey Quinn did add in Gavin’s POV to help offset the angst of Dixie. Not that Gavin didn’t have angst of his own but it was nice to see things through his eyes. It made things a little more clear when you got both sides of the story. Overall, not bad but not totally great either.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Leaving Amarillo

Add Make it Count by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All Lined Up by Cora Carmack to Goodreads. (Click here for my reivew.)

three-stars
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Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: Leaving Amarillo by Casey Quinn

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

Review: Leaving Amarillo by Casey QuinnLeaving Amarillo by Casey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams,
Also in this series: Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie
Published by William Morrow on 17 March 2015
Genres: Dating & Sex, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie

Place(s) Traveled To: Austin, Texas // Amaillo, Texas

First Line(s): It’s time like this, times when I’m on, giving it my all as my bow dances across the strings like it has a mind of its own, that I feel like I can fly.

If I’d known going into LEAVING AMARILLO by Casey Quinn that it wasn’t the full story than I may not have picked up this book. I’m not a huge fan of serializations and while this isn’t quite a serialized story its not your typical contemporary romance either. For me, I like my contemporary romances to end with an HEA and to be contained in one volume. When you have a 352 page story you shouldn’t need another 300 pages in order to finish it properly. That just leaves way too much time for angst and unnecessary drama. And y’all know how much I dislike my unnecessary drama. If there is a real and logical reason I can get behind it but I am so not a fan of the pointless breakup.

In LEAVING AMARILLO there is much angst and drama and I have many a comment in my kindle that simply reads as WTF. Dixie starts off as this strong heroine but by the end she was a total Mary Sue that just let everyone walk all over her. Ok, there were inklings of this in the beginning with how overbearing her brother Dallas was but at least she attempted to stick up for herself in those times. She also went after what she wanted, or rather who she wanted when she made the decision to go after Gavin after lusting after him for years. What’s frustrating with this book is that there is no logical reason for these two to be apart other than some random promise made between Gavin and Dallas when they were children. So you can imagine all the frustrated sighs that I sighed while reading LEAVING AMARILLO.

Leaving Amarillo Quote

LEAVING AMARILLO also suffers from being a single POV story. Dixie’s voice was so angsty and annoying at times and with the epilogue narrated in Gavin’s POV it just really highlights how much could have been added if the story switched between them. I may have liked both Gavin and Dixie more by the end if I’d been able to experience this story from both of their viewpoints. With only seeing things from Dixie’s POV you get a very warped view of Gavin who tends to run very hot and cold throughout the entire book. Torn between his love of Dixie and to promises made to her brother as well.

With all the angst and drama in this story I really wanted there to be a HEA to make all the suffering worth the journey. But alas, that is not the case. LEAVING AMARILLO ends on a very unsatisfactory note and in order to see if Gavin and Dixie get their HEA is to read two more books. Ok, so one of the books, LOVING DALLAS, is Dallas’s story but its book 2 in the series and my need of reading things in order means that to get to MISSING DIXIE than I would have to read that one. Not to mention that since the story is a continuation there could be things that happen between Gavin and Dixie in LOVING DALLAS that would be missed if that story was skipped. All in all, LEAVING AMARILLO was a book that didn’t leave me with the warm fuzzies. It was a fast read but it was unsatisfying and I just wanted more from that ending. Like, you know, an actual ending.

irishdarkblue

IR - Leaving Amarillo

Add Make it Count by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All Lined Up by Cora Carmack to Goodreads. (Click here for my reivew.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: In Real Life by Jessica Love

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

Review: In Real Life by Jessica LoveIn Real Life by Jessica Love
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 01 March 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, People & Places, People of Color, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:  Unknown, California // Las Vegas, Nevada // Henderson, Nevada // Fontana, California // Primm Nevada

First Line(s): My best friend and I have never met.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love other than it sounded like a really cute story. After reading the first chapter I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. I loved Hannah’s voice and I loved her relationship with her sister Grace and her BFF Lo. Together they were fun and adorable and I wanted to be in the car with them as they road tripped it to Las Vegas. Their relationship isn’t perfect and there where times I wanted to shake Lo and Grace for their behavior, especially towards Hannah, but overall I loved their dynamic because it was real. Friends and siblings aren’t always going to get along and there are times when you are shitty to each other but that the love that binds them isn’t there. Love does a great job highlighting all these various shades of the friend and sibling relationship.

Love also does an amazing job with Hannah. As I said above, I loved her voice. She’s smart and pretty and awkward and all the things that so many people will be able to relate to. She makes a crazy decision to finally meet her BFF Nick, who she might also love, and jumps in whole heartedly even though she isn’t entirely sure what she’ll find at the end. I loved how Grace and Lo supported and encouraged her in this as Hannah was a little too straight-edged at times but that is in part because of her upbringing as a Korean-American and in part because her sister and Lo do enough crazy and they need Hannah to help ground them.

In Real Life Quote

 

IN REAL LIFE is a quick read and one that made my heart ache. Oh how I hated some of the things that happened because I wanted Nick and Hannah to meet and admit that they’d fallen madly in love. But then, if that was the story then it’d be pretty boring and I’d have very differently feelings. Instead, IN REAL LIFE has some secrets and twists and turns and heart ache as these characters all do and say things that makes you want to shake them. As a reader, I became totally invested in this story and felt so many feels. And even though there were times I wanted to shake Nick or Hannah or Lo or Grace I also adored all of these characters. I wanted everyone to find their Happily Ever Afters and I hated for IN REAL LIFE to end. Seriously, I need more words!!

For me, IN REAL LIFE is very much like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS only instead of a boarding school in France there is a road trip and Las Vegas….though each book has the Eiffel Tower so see, the same! lol Hannah and Nick face many of the same obstacles as Anna and Etienne. Hannah and Anna are both girls out of their element and so a little shy and don’t want to take risks for fear of change. But they are both brave and while it takes time they each make a leap in order to take charge of their happiness. I think that Anna and Hannah would be good friends.

I picked up IN REAL LIFE expecting a cute story and I got that and so much more. I loved this book and I know that its one that I am going to be re-reading. Its a wonderful story and if you trust me at all then you are going to want to have a copy of it on your shelf.

irishdarkblue

IR - In Real Life

Click here to add Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add PS I Like You by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

four-stars
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte on 01 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Los Angeles, California // Kahului, Hawaii

First Line(s): I’ve read more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me. I’ve had the time.

When I first heard of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING I wasn’t sure if it would be a book for me. For one, its an Alloy Entertainment book and me and packaged books don’t always get along the best and two because of its topic. But then I kept hearing people rave about it and so I decided to give it a try. Now normally, hyped up books and I don’t get along so that coupled with the packaged book and you’d think that EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING would be a total miss for me but lo and behold I ended up loving this one.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is a story told from Madeline’s POV. Madeline is your typical teenager and she likes to shop and read and she gets into fights with her mom. But Madeline isn’t like most teens as she lives in a bubble. Literally. She is a girl that can’t go outside because the outside world may kill her as she’s allergic to pretty much everything. Her mother is a doctor and her primary caregiver and has turned the house into a refuge of sorts and tries to give Madeline a normal life. Madeline is okay with this until new neighbors, including teen boy Olly, move in and then Madeline begins to yearn for more.

Everything Everything Quote

Special thanks to AndiABCs for helping me pick out which quote to use!

I really enjoyed Madeline’s voice and I was totally sucked into her story. I found it hard to put EVERYTHING EVERYTHING down and read it quickly. Madeline was smart and funny and I loved how she and Olly found a way to communicate when she wasn’t able to go outside or even open a window. Its a fast paced story that makes you feel all the feels. And even though I totally predicted how this whole story would play out in the beginning it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. Madeline and Olly’s relationship was everything and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I do wish that there had been a little more from the ending. After all that build up I wanted more and so felt a little cheated. There just weren’t enough words to satisfy me but what words were there were well written. I enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s story telling and I am already looking forward to her next book. EVERYTHING EVERYTHING is the sort of book that reminds me to take chances and to not judge too harshly before I give a story a chance. Because you never know what you might be missing if you don’t try to see if something is worthwhile.

irishdarkblue

IR - Everything Everything

 

Add Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy to Goodreads.

Add Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas to Goodreads.

four-stars
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