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Genre: Girls & Women

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
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Lady Bridget's Diary

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.)

three-stars
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Summer Days & Summer Nights Ed. By Stephanie Perkins

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

Blog Tour Review: Summer Days & Summer Nights Ed. By Stephanie PerkinsSummer Days and Summer Nights by Brandy Colbert, Cassandra Clare, Francesca Lia Block, Jennifer E. Smith, Jon Skovron, Leigh Bardugo, Lev Grossman, Libba Bray, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Tim Federle, Veronica Roth
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 17 May 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Anthology, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Demons, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, This is What Happy Looks Like, The Geography of You and Me, The Raven Princess, Shadow & Bone, Six of Crows, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After

Greetings and Salutations Internet!

Today I am going to talk about the anthology SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS which was edited by Stephanie Perkins. SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS is a collection of twelve stories from various authors in the YA world that all embody the lazy crazy days of summer. This review will be set up a little differently from my regular reviews as it won’t be one long rambling post of my thoughts. Instead I broke things down by each story in the collection and shared my thoughts on each after I read them.

HEAD, SCALES, TONGUE, TAIL by Leigh Bardugo

Place(s) Traveled: New York, New York (1986) // Little Spindle, New York

First Line(s): There were a lot of stories about Annalee Saperstein and why she came to Little Spindle, but Gracie’s favorite was the heat wave.

Rating: 3 stars

This was an odd little story but one that reads like an updated version of a hodpge of different myths. Its a short story (duh) but there is so much included in it. It spans a few years and there is a lot of character growth and development and even some heart-achy feels.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

THE END OF LOVE by Nina LaCour

Place(s) Traveled: Berkeley, California // Muir Beach, California

First Line(s): I don’t realize how early I am until I open the door.

Rating: 3 stars

I liked this story and the voice of the main character, Flora. She was sweet and filled with a sadness that just lept off the page. This is a girl who is going through a lot and doesn’t quiet know how to process it all. For this entire story I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her its ok to just cry it out. I liked the other characters in this story as well, with the exception of Flora’s parents who were such selfish asshats! My big complaint with THE END OF LOVE is that if felt unfinished as if there is still a lot more story to tell and more to explore and I’d have liked to see this one as a full length story.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

LAST STAND AT THE CINEGOR by Libba Bray

Place(s) Traveled: Deadwood, Texas

First Line(s): On the last night of the Cinegore, the sky looked like it needed to call in sick, all yellow-green going dark around the edges like an infected cut, a summer storm heading in hard.

Rating: 2.5 stars

I liked the start of this one and thought that it would be a fun start to a summer romance. But then things took a crazy turn for the weird with the appearance of demons. Yes, demon demons and I guess it was supposed to turn spooky horror story but it just made me go…huh? Even with demons it might still have ended up a good story but it just sort of fizzled out and the ending just leaves you scratching your head.  It was rushed and just fell flat. Not a fan of this one.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

SICK PLEASURES by Francesa Lia Block

Place(s) Traveled: Los Angeles, California // Studio City, California // Calabasas, California // Camarillo, California

First Line(s): It was the first night of summer vacation when my friends M and L and I piled into J’s VW Bug and drove to Phases, the teen dance club deep in the San Fernando Valley, to escape sorrow and find the thing that we were looking for.

Rating: 1 star

Not a fan of this one at all. I hated how much distance there was between the narrator of the story and the reader. Its like you are trying to watch something from very far off. There was little to no emotion in this story either. No real purpose. Just words on a page that didn’t amount to much of anything at all. Just a sense of sadness and bitterness and I could have done without reading this one.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

IN NINETY MINUTES, TURN NORTH by Stephanie Perkins

Place(s) Traveled: Burnsville, North Carolina

First Line(s): Marigold hated this time of year.

Rating: 4 stars

Oh how this story hurt my heart!! Perkins brings back characters that she first introduced in her winter anthology and I just loved what she did with this story. I liked how Perkins wove in Marigold and North’s history without making the story one big flashback. Instead, it only made this story all the more heartbreaking. I totally teared up while reading this one and just loved all the feels that it made me feel. I really want a full length book of Marigold and North. Of all the stories in this anthology I think that this one will be my favorite.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

SOUVENIRS by Tim Federle

Place(s) Traveled: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): Maybe I’ve been reading too much Charles Dickens recently, but today doesn’t seem dreary enough for a break up, you know?

Rating: 4 stars

This was another bittersweet story and I loved the progression of it. It felt like a complete story but I would have loved to have more words. I really liked Matty’s voice and would love to see what becomes of him after this story ends. SOUVENIRS made my heart ache and I was sad to see this one end.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

INERTIA by Veronica Roth

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): “There must have been some kind of mistake,” I said.

Rating: 3 stars

What is with the heartbreaking way these stories are going?!? This one started out a bit choppy and rough but my heart was totally invested by the end. I wasn’t a fan of how cryptic it was at first but the end does make up for the beginning. I liked the characters and I liked the story I just didn’t like it as much as I did some of the others in this anthology.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

LOVE IS THE LAST RESORT by Jon Skovron

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): Dear reader, I want to assure you that this is not a story about love or romance, regardless of what you may have read on the cover.

Rating: 1 star

I was not a fan of this one. It wasn’t a bad story but I hated how it was written!! The prose was stifling and I felt like I might drown in it. It was a poor written 19th century novel and the words totally drowned out the meaning behind them. I really didn’t care about any of these characters and if this was any long than it had been it would have been a DNF.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

GOOD LUCK AND FAREWELL by Brandy Colbert

Place(s) Traveled: Chicago, Illinois // Andersonville, Illinois

First Line(s): Audrey and I are lounging on the sandy banks of Foster Avenue Beach when she tells me she’s going to San Francisco.

Rating: 3 stars

This is another so-so story in the collection. I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Rashida and Pierre and their story felt a little forced. I would have liked to have seen more of them actually talking and interacting and it just felt rushed.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

BRAND NEW ATTRACTION by Cassandra Clare

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): It was a dark carnival.

Rating: 3 stars

Another story with demons. Like the first one it just doesn’t seem to fit with this anthology. It was weird and choppy and another one where I really didn’t care for the characters. Events were rushed and feelings felt very surfacy and I was just glad to have it over because it was just weird.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

A THOUSAND WAYS THIS COULD ALL GO WRONG by Jennifer E. Smith

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, Illinois

First Line(s): When I spot him at the other end of the grocery aisle, I freeze.

Rating: 4 stars

I was ready for another disappointing read after the previous few stories but in the end this one is among my favorites. This is the sort of story I was expecting this whole anthology to be. Fun, contemporary romances that make your heart ache and bring a smile to your face. I smiled a lot while reading this one and its another story that I wish had been a full length book. I really enjoyed this characters and hated to say goodbye to them.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS by Lev Grossman

Place(s) Traveled: Lexington, Massachusetts

First Line(s): It was August 4th, and I guess it already had been for a while.

Rating: 3 stars

Another so-so story rounds out this anthology. It wasn’t bad but it just seemed to be missing that little something special that makes my heart ache. There wasn’t a lot of depth to it or character development and it just sort of blends in with the other stories in the anthology.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS, like most anthologies, is a mixed bag of stories. I was expecting for there to be a bit more cohesion in this collection and so was surprised at the addition of things (ie demons) into the mix. Those odd ball stories took me out of these worlds and made it hard to pick the book up. There were only a handful of stories that I felt compelled to read and ones that I will probably re-read again. But there is nothing particularly wow inducing for me in SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS and I was left a little more disappointed than not. I just expected more from it than what I got and so that makes me more disappointed than I might otherwise have been as my expectations were so high. On the plus note, there is definitely something for everyone in this collection.

OVERALL RATING: 3 stars

 

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

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

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl
Published by Sourcebooks on 05 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl

Place(s) Traveled To: Franklin, Tennessee // Murfreesboro, Tennessee // Brentwood, Tenneessee

First Line(s): When I was a little girl, Dad installed a gumball machine in our house.

It’s taken me awhile to come up with the right words to fully express my thoughts on DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally and even these words don’t seem completely right. DEFENDING TAYLOR is everything that you would expect from a book by Miranda Kenneally but its also so much more. All off Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks books have some sort of theme to them, and not just the various sportsing that is mentioned either. For me, the main theme in DEFENDING TAYLOR is one of second chances. Its about making mistakes and learning to live with the consequences no matter what they are. Its about standing your ground when you think you are right even when telling one simple truth can change everything.

Taylor isn’t always the easiest character to like or even to understand at times but by the end of the book you can’t help but to sympathize with her and the tough choices she makes. What she did might be hard for some to understand but its something that happens all the time. Sometimes you make a tough choice thinking that the consequence won’t be that bad and if they are then you have to live them. I think that Taylor is very brave for what she did because her choice wasn’t an easy one and her family certainly didn’t make it any easier. Even though they could have done so. I really wasn’t a fan of Taylor’s family in this book so was really glad when she reconnected with Ezra as she needed a friendly face around.

Defending Taylor Quote

While at its heart DEFENDING TAYLOR is about making choices it also contains two of my favorite book tropes: second chance at love and friend of a sibling. Ezra is the BFF of Taylor’s brother and once upon a time they almost got together. When you learn their backstory it just makes your heart ache for what could have been. And while things could have been cleared up if the two just talked to each other there was pride and hurt feelings that got in the way. Plus, the timing then may not have been right as both of these characters needed to go through some things  before they were ready for their HEA.

DEFENDING TAYLOR is a book that I found hard to put down once I started it. I may not have always agreed with Taylor and her life choices but I did understand them. In the end, the thing I wanted most from DEFENDING TAYLOR was more. I wanted more story, more Taylor, more Ezra and just more of everything. Keanneally has a gift for writing feel good, heart achy stories and if you are a fan of her words then you don’t want to miss this one. If you haven’t read anything by Keanneally before then DEFENDING TAYLOR might be a good place to start. Its definitely a book that you want on your shelf this summer.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Defending Taylor

 

Add Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review, Click here for Andi’s review)

Add Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen to Goodreads. (Click here for Andi’s review)

four-stars
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Dirty by Kylie ScottDirty by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar,
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 19 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Lick, Play, Lead, Deep

Place(s) Traveled To: Coeur d”Alene, Idaho

First Line(s): Fuck. I stared at my cell phone, mouth slack in horror.

DIRTY by Kylie Scott is the first book in her new series which is a spin off of her Stage Dive series which I devoured last year and has one of my favorite meet cutes in a book. The chemistry between Vaughan and Lydia is immediate and I just loved reading their story. We first met Vaughan in the Stage Dive series as a member of another band and things are changing for him in DIRTY. His future is up in the air and the last thing he needs is for a woman in a wedding dress to break into his childhood home. But sometimes, just sometimes, the expected things in life end up being just the things you need. Vaughan and Lydia are both at a crossroads at the start of this book unsure where their path will go and by the end the reader is just a puddle of mush because it was just that good of a journey.

While DIRTY is a spin off of another series there isn’t that much cross over between the two and so it can be read independently. This also means that there is a whole new cast of characters that we get to know. They range from the douchbaggery to ones that you know you are going to love and hope that they get their own books. The secondary characters in DIRTY really add a lot of humor and depth to the story and I loved meeting them all and seeing how they fit in Lydia and Vaughan’s story. Not to mention the most excellent dialogue between Lydia and Vaughan…oh how I loved their banter and I often found myself laughing as I read this book.

Dirty Quote

I found it really hard to put DIRTY down once I picked it up and simply flew through the story. I loved every moment of it and found it realistic and fun and it gave me all the heartachy feels that I love. I do think that for all its build up that the ending was a bit rushed. I wish that DIRTY had been just a little longer to give the ending a bit more cohesiveness. Though I do appreciate how there was no pointless breakup in this story. Yes the characters have a conflict and separation (because really when don’t they in a romance book?) but its realistic and heartbreaking and also necessary to get that HEA conclusion that we readers long for.

If you are a fan of Kylie Scott then you are going to love DIRTY and if you’ve never read her before then this is a great book to start with. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, TWIST, and can’t wait to see who will be featured in that story. I hated leaving this world so its wonderful to know that I’ll be able to get back to it again soon as the series continues. I also still want to set fire to one of the characters (ok maybe two) cars but I trust that my girl Lydia will enact her revenge on them by finding a happiness that they can’t even begin to imagine. Lydia is fierce and I think she’ll be as loved by readers as she is by Vaughan and you won’t want to miss meeting them both.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Dirty

Add Built by Jay Crownover to Goodreads. (Click here for my review & an excerpt.)

Add Listen to Me by Kristen Proby to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review6 Comments

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen ProbyListen to Me by Kristen Proby
Series: Fusion,
Published by William Morrow on 12 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Rock with Me, Fight with Me, Safe with Me, Tied with Me, Breathe with Me

Place(s) Traveled To: Portland, Oregon // Hillsboro, Oregon

First Line(s): “In summary,” Cami, one of my very best friends, and a business partner, reads from the Portland Tribune, “Seduction is a restaurant unlike any other I’ve experienced.”

Kristen Proby is known for writing heartfelt characters with deep connections and sizzling passion. This April, she will seduce readers’ senses with a brand new series, Fusion, from William Morrow Paperbacks, in which five best friends open a hot new restaurant together. Today, we are thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for LISTEN TO ME, the first book in the Fusion Series releasing April 12, 2016. LISTEN TO ME finds a hot former rock star looking for a steady gig at the restaurant, but he’ll have to convince the prickly front-of-house manager to take a chance on him—with her business and her heart.

 Review

LISTEN TO ME is the first book in Kristen Proby’s newest series called Fusion which will revolve around five really good friends who own a restaurant together. LISTEN TO ME is Addie’s story, she’s the manager and she is looking for some musical talent to work the weekends and add to the ambiance. At an open mic night she sees Jake Keller, former lead singer of the hit band Hard Knox but doesn’t approach him, because HELLO ROCK STAR! They can’t afford that. Only, Jake’s BFF Christina sees the music act wanted sign and convinces Jack to apply. Since you don’t say no when a retired rock star offers to sing in your restaurant he gets hired and immediately starts to get his flirt on with Addie. Its cute and adorable and I just loved Jake. Addie has been burned by musicians before and just recently broke up with one so she’s wary at first but the sparks can’t be denied and soon they are on the path to happiness.

There were times when I found Addie to be a bit harsh but when you learn her history you do understand why she is the way she is. Which then only makes my heart break for her all the more later on in the book. Although I do think she strongly overreacted on one thing and blew it all out of proportion. Which then lead to their first fight, Jake then jumped to conclusions based on something he saw and his demons popped up and then before you know it the pointless breakup of all pointless breakups happens. Its over in 2 seconds and a heartbeat latter Jake regrets his actions and then for the last 40% of the book he is trying to make it up to Addie, a girl with abandonment issues so I understand why she’s reluctant to take him back. Especially since all his attempts are all him saying “I miss you” and none that take ownership of what he did.

This killed the book for me. Up until that pointless breakup I was loving this book. I adored the chemistry between Addie and Jake and loved loved loved their banter!! They got along so well and talked about so much but when it came to the one conversation that mattered they didn’t talk at all. Which made me just want to shake them so hard. There was no reason for this break up and it was drawn out way to long and its only point seemed to be cause its the formula to have a breakup and it didn’t seem like Proby knew of a good way to do it since Addie and Jake just worked so well.

I also wasn’t a fan of the epilogue. Readers, you know my thoughts on those and epilogues at the end of the first book in a series just hit a nerve more than any other epilogue. Especially since this one ends with a cliff hanger that will lead into the next book, CLOSE TO YOU (Goodreads), which isn’t out until August. My romance books shouldn’t come with a cliff hanger ending when they aren’t in the romantic suspense genre. So this and the pointless break up are what dropped this one from a 4.5 star read to a 3 star one in fast order. But I know those aren’t things that bother other people, I’m super terrible picky sometimes so know that up until those two things LISTEN TO ME was an excellent read.

LISTEN TO ME was a quick read once I was able to settle into the story. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I loved watching Addie and Jake come together. I adored all of the secondary characters and how they all fit and fleshed out the story. There were times that I laughed out loud at some of the banter especially scenes that involved Jake and his male BFF. There were times that this book made my heart ache and I was mostly happy with the ending I just wish that there some things that had been done a little differently. But that’s on me. You dear reader, for I know you well, you won’t mind those things near as much and so if you need a book to bring with you to the beach or pool then look no further than LISTEN TO ME. Just know you may get looks when you start to giggle from time to time.

irishdarkblue

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes ** Kobo

Excerpt

 

“It is a shame,” Chris says.

                “Don’t start, C.” I toss the bacon on my plate and push it away.

                “All I’m saying is –“

                “The same thing you’ve been saying for years. I don’t want to live a public life anymore. It just fucks thinks up.”

                “You don’t have to live a public life to play music.” She shakes her head, cutting me off when I would speak. “Just listen. Kevin took me to a new restaurant the other night. It’s awesome.” She leans in, her brown eyes shining with excitement. “It’s sexy.”

                “The restaurant is sexy?”

                “Yes, and it’s amazing. So, these women have opened this place in downtown Portland called Seduction. There are aphrodisiacs on the menu, sexy music and atmosphere, amazing wine cellar. Did you know that asparagus is an aphrodisiac?”

                “I had no idea.”

                “Me either! Until we went there. It’s so great for couples, and it looks like it’s making quite a name for itself.”

                “What the fuck does it have to do with me?” I ask mildly and sip more coffee.

                “There was a sign in the window advertising for a weekend musician.”

                I stare at her, blinking.

                “So?”

                “So you should go apply!”

                She slaps her hand on the table and leans back with a satisfied smile, proud of herself.

                “Fuck no.”

                “Why not?”

                “Jake Knox doesn’t perform anymore.”

                “Jake Keller could.”

                I tilt my head, suddenly intrigued.

                “You don’t have to go in there and be a rock star, you know. You could just go in with your guitar and play music. You don’t have to do the old Hard Knox stuff, unless you want to try some acoustic arrangements. You could just do covers, if that’s what you wanted. Or new stuff you’re writing.”

                Suddenly the yearning in my gut is so intense I can barely breathe. I love producing and writing music. Hell, I spent a month up in Seattle last fall cowriting and producing with Leo Nash, an old friend of mine, for his band’s new album. It’s fulfilling.

                But fuck me, how I miss performing. And it’s really not about the screaming women, the lights, the louder-than-fuck music.

                It’s just the music itself. Performing and watching the crowd sing along.

                There’s just nothing like it. And the other night, when I sat on that stage and sang, it was like visiting an old friend.

                But I gave it up on a rainy night five years ago when Christina was almost killed and lost her leg, all because of me.

                I shake my head and clench my jaw. “No.”

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Kristen Proby’s EASY FOR KEEPS!

 

About LISTEN TO ME:

 

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

 

 

ListenToMe_ProbyQuote_Tour

 

Author Pic - Kristen ProbyAbout Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter** Newsletter Sign Up

LISTEN TO ME Goodreads ** Kristen Proby Goodreads

 

 

ListenToMe_Tour_Teaser1

 

Tour Stops

Kristen Proby’s LISTEN TO ME – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

April 4th

The Cantu Sisters Book Reviews – Excerpt

2 Girls & Their Kindles – Review & Excerpt

Book Sniffers Anonymous – Review

Queenzany – Review

She Hearts Books – Review

April 5th

Melissa’s Book Obsessiom – Review

BBBf-sizzlereads-bestbookboyfriends – Review

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

EscapeNBooks – Review & Excerpt

April 6th

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

MEReadALOT – Review

Hike2Forty and beyond – Review & Excerpt

Take Me Away To A Great Read – Excerpt

April 7th

Romance Addict Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Fiction Fangirls – Review & Excerpt

Between Books – Review & Excerpt

The Suburban Eclectic Review – Review

Princess Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

Two Unruly Girls With A Romance Book Buzz – Review & Excerpt

Literati Literature Lovers – Review

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

Random Book Muses – Review

An Asian Chick & Her Cat Walk into a Book Blog – Review

April 9th

Novel Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Soul – Review

BooksPieAndCoffee – Review & Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review

April 10th

Emmbooks – Review

The Book Hoarders – Review

Bridget’s Book Bungalow – Review & Excerpt

The Book Avenue – Excerpt

Smart & Savvy with Stephanie – Review

April 11th

Once Upon An Alpha – Review & Excerpt

A Sky Full of Stars Blog – Excerpt

Rosemarie McKenzie – Review & Excerpt

Alleskelle Blogs But Mostly Reads – Review

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

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three-stars
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Audio Review: Serpentine by Cindy Pon

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

Audio Review: Serpentine by Cindy PonSerpentine by Cindy Pon
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: ,
Published by Audible Studios on 29 December 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Asian Mythology, Death & Dying, Demons, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix, Blue Skies

Place(s) Traveled To: Kingdom of Xia

First Line(s): The mountain was still shrouded in mist.

SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon was one of my most anticipated reads for 2015 as I adored her two other books SILVER PHOENIX (my review) and FURY OF THE PHOENIX (my review). As such I think that I fell victim to my own hype. SERPENTINE is set in the same world as the PHOENIX books but its a whole new story with a whole new cast of characters and can be read completely separate from the first books. The biggest difference between the two series is that Skybright is no Ai Ling. I adored Ai Ling so and I think part of me kept hoping that Sky would be a lot like her. This was a totally unfair comparison to make but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from doing so.

Perhaps part of my issues with SERPENTINE was the fact that I listened to it on audio. The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, is a very good narrator but she read slowly. Which made the book progress slowly for me. I didn’t have that burning need to stay in the car as I’ve had with some audios as there wasn’t a whole ton of action going on or urgency in the narration. Where I was so super grateful to the audiobook version of SERPENTINE was with pronunciations. There is just so much that I would have totally bungled if left to my own reading devices.

Serpentine Quote

SERPENTINE is filled with rich details and mythology and I really wanted to love it but there was just something about the story that didn’t connect with me. Despite all the detail I’m not entirely sure that I got the whole story and felt a bit lost at times with what was happening the world. Or why I should care about these various characters. This could also be a result of the slow narration where I can’t say with 100% certainty that I didn’t zone out during my listen. Zeller has such a soothing and even toned voice that I found it to be quite relaxing.

Even though I didn’t love SERPENTINE I am still curious to see where things are going. I want to learn more about Sky’s origins and what the deal with with Stone. I want her to find her HEA with Kai-Son and for Zhen Ji to find her happiness as well. SERPENTINE is an interesting read and I think there is a lot of potential to the world and the characters. I just need to make sure that I am in the right mind frame for its sequel and to loosen up my expectations because SERPENTINE is its own book and story and I need to separate it from the PHOENIX books.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Serpentine

Add The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi to Goodreads.

Add Hunter by Mercedes Lackey to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie MurphyDumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on 15 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 375
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Clover City, Texas // Odessa, Texas

First Line(s): All the best things in my life have started with a Dolly Parton song.

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard about DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy I had my reservations. Even before all the hype around it began and that hype only increased my wariness of this book. I really didn’t think that DUMPLIN’ was going to be a me book and I didn’t even consider picking it up until I was traveling in Greece with a friend and she sold me on this book. A thing for which I’ll be forever grateful to her for doing because I *loved* Willowdean and couldn’t get enough of her story. DUMPLIN’ is a powerful little story and I found that once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down again. I was engrossed. I was enthralled. I was completely and totally lost in its pages.

DUMPLIN’ is a story that will speak to many readers on many different levels. Its not just Willowdean’s story but the story of everyone who has ever struggled to fit in and find their place in the world. Its raw and amazing and I wish that I had this story when I was a teen. Willowdean is a perfectly flawed character. She’s strong and insecure. She’s smart and naive. She’s everything and nothing all at once. Her journey is all about learning to love yourself and learning that your imperfections are what make you uniquely wonderfully perfectly you. Willowdean teaches us that no one can do you better than yourself so you better be the best dang you that you can be.

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Another thing that I like about DUMPLIN’ is that while there is a romance to the story the story isn’t about the romance. Its not about Willowdean trying to find someone to love her but about her learning to love herself. But what romance there is will just make your heart ache! My only complaint is that there weren’t enough scenes between Willowdean and Bo as I would have liked to have seen more of them together. Because even though DUMPLIN’ is the story of Willowdean I do so enjoy my swoony moments. So I do hope that these two make a decent cameo in the upcoming companion which will be released a millenia from now in 2018.

DUMPLIN’ is a book that I think everyone should read. If you are one the fence then jump off of it and into this story. If I’d listened to my first instincts I would have missed out on reading this amazing unputdownable read. It was fresh and funny and had all the things that I love in a story. There was laughter and tears and moments that just hurt my heart. We’ve all been a Willowdean and we all could learn from her knowing that its okay to let our sparkle shine no matter what anyone else says. We are all beauty queens and we don’t need the crown to prove it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dumplin

Add Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: Revved by Samantha Towle

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Revved by Samantha TowleRevved by Samantha Towle
Series: Revved,
Also in this series: Revived
Published by Self-Published on 17 March 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 410
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Revived

Place(s) Traveled To: Monte Carlo, Monaco / Sao Paulo, Brazil / Luton, England / Bedfordshire, England / Melbourne, Australia / Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Shanhai, China / Barcelona, Spain / Buckinghamshire, England / Budapest, Hungary / Marina Bay, Singapore / Santos, Brazil / Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

First Line(s): I look up at my mum. She looks worried, and she’s holding my hand tight.

I probably wouldn’t have picked up REVVED by Samantha Towle if it wasn’t for my friend Sarah who devoured it and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Since she and I both can’t get enough of book crack sexy time reads I knew I needed a copy for myself and was gifted one by my super lovely Secret Sister, Michelle. I read REVVED on my way to Greece and it was the perfect book for that 9+ hour flight. REVVED is a quick, brain candy sort of story that really helped to distract me from the fact that I can’t sleep on an airplane even though I want to really really badly.

There is a lot of chemistry between Carrick and Andi and there is totally some instalust but I love how they try to build and maintain a friendship before giving into what they both rally want. For you see, Carrick and Andi work together and Carrick is a wee bit of a man-whore. He’s also arrogant as all get out and definitely knows all the right buttons to push on Andi, his mechanic, to get her all sorts of riled up. But what I love about Andi is that she’s smart and sexy and gives every bit as much as she gets which means that sparks are literally exploding off the page with each and every scene.

Revved Quote

There is a lot of angst in REVVED, especially from Andi who didn’t always seem to know what she wanted. She’d run hot and cold and push Carrick away. Yet despite that I just loved their story. Carrick and Andi made my heart ache and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see how their happily ever after would play out. Not only did I love Carrick and Andi but all the secondary characters really helped to flesh out and give life to this world that Samantha Towle has created. I’m only sad that because REVVED is about Carrick and Andi that we didn’t get to spend as much time with these secondary characters as I would have liked.

REVVED is a well written, fast paced story that is a great escapist read. You get to travel the world and get totally lost in the relationship of Carrick and Andi. They are funny and annoying and everything in between. If you haven’t heard of REVVED but like hot, sexy reads then you are definitely going to want to add this one to your TBR pile!

irishdarkblue

IR - Revved

 

Add The Chase by Erin McCarthy to Goodreads.

Add Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson to Goodreads.

four-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
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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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Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

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

Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia AdlerJust Visiting by Dahlia Adler
Published by Spencer Hill on 17 November 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People of Color, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 348
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Behind the Scenes

Place(s) Traveled To: Charytan, Kansas // Lawrence, Kansas // Various Unnamed Places, Kansas

First Line(s): There comes a crossroads in every great friendship in which one of you has to tell the other a painful, ugly truth.

Its no secret that I love a good road trip book and so when I heard about JUST VISITING by Dahlia Adler I knew that I had to read it. JUST VISITING is the story of Reagan and Vic who are best friends and seniors in high school. Since they met, two years before the start of the book, all they’ve talked about is going off to college and leaving their small town. They have a plan and they are counting down the days until graduation when they can start the next stage in their life. JUST VISITING shows Reagan and Vic heading off to various colleges that while still in their home state are far enough from home to offer a whole new start. Along the way though they learn that maybe all their carefully laid plans may not be what is the best thing after all.

I loved the friendship in JUST VISITING. Reagan and Vic were so real and you feel their bond. They aren’t perfect and they get into fights but they make up, they apologize and move on. There is no fake-BFF syndrome to be found in this story so when they hit a rough patch your heart breaks for them. Just as when Reagan and Vic start to realize that their paths might not be going in the same direction your heart aches for this bump in the road. But at the same time you know that these girls are going to be ok. They are in it for the long haul and they will be stronger because of it. Part of what I love about JUST VISITING is how Adler shows that its ok to change your plans even though you were certain that they were set in stone. That the world won’t end because you decide that may this college over that one is really the right one for you. That life is about making choices and finding your path and that even if you make a wrong turn you can always find your way back to where you were meant to be.

Just Visiting Quote

There is more to JUST VISITING though than just the friendship although that is the main story line. There is also a romance and family drama. Oh is there family drama. And then there is this whole random story line about why Reagan is a bit of a social outcast in her small town and that just bugged me throughout the book. I get that small towns can hold a grudge but this just seemed so extreme and just took me out of the story. Just as the over emphasis on race and the huge chip on Vic’s shoulders. I loved how there was a lot of diversity in this story but Vic just seemed to hate on everyone and make such snap, harsh judgement on what people were thinking before they even spoke because she was Mexican. Those moments often had me sighing a bit and seemed a little out of character for Vic who was always so happy and looking on the bright side of life. In my opinion, the judgementalness would have seemed more in character for Reagan over Vic.

My issues aside, I did love Reagan and Vic and I also adored the character of Dev. Oh he annoyed me at times but then so did Reagan and Vic. The annoyances are part of what made all these characters seem so very real. There were times when JUST VISITING was a bit hard to like but that was partly because the book was so real. JUST VISITING is a fun read but it does deal with real world issues. There are times when JUST VISITING is very raw and powerful and its definitely a book worth reading. JUST VISITING is also one of those rare unicorn books where the epilogue did not suck. Its an epilogue with substance and I liked it. Though I do feel like there could have been another chapter or two between where the book ends and where the epilogue begins. It just felt like something was missing between the two and I just wish that gap had been filled. But overall, I was very happy with JUST VISITING and its a book that you should have on your shelf.

irishdarkblue

IR - Just Visiting

Add Open Road Summer by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add With This Heart by R.S. Grey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

four-stars
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