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Genre: Illnesses & Injuries

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: The Natural History of Us by Rachel HarrisThe Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending
Also in this series: The Fine Art of Pretending
Published by Spencer Hill on 05 April 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 297
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Taste the Heat, Seven Day Fiance, Accidently Married on Purpose, The Fine Art of Pretending, You're Still the One

Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US is already getting swoons from readers everywhere! We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it. Known for her sweet romances, Rachel’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US, is no different! Check out everything we have for you on this amazing title and then go grab your copy today. Justin and Peyton’s story is sure to put a smile on your face and keep you turning pages long into the night!

Review

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairwood City, Texas

First Line(s): They say once rodeo gets into your blood, you’re never the same.

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US by Rachel Harris is a companion story to THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING (my review) which I read and enjoyed last year. In FINE ART the main character Aly wants to date her long time crush, Justin, and uses her BFF Brandon to help her out. Things don’t work out the way Aly plans and while she finds her HEA Justin does not. I liked Justin’s character in FINE ART so was really curious to see who Harris would pair him with in THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US. In this book we meet Peyton who is a smart, quiet girl who just happens to share a past with Justin. We learn of their history via flashbacks as they reconnect in the present when they are forced to work together on a school assignment. Which Justin sees as an opportunity to win her back and Peyton sees as the worst punishment ever.

While THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US is told in classic Harris style there was just something missing in it for me to love it completely. For me, the flashbacks just took away from the story as they were overly long and the lead ins to them were a bit too cliched. Learning the history of Justin and Peyton is important but I think it was just too drawn out and I wanted more of them in the now. There was just so much potential for their story and in the various class assignments that the two of them had that just weren’t really explored. But the think that bothered me more about THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US was how Peyton had a boyfriend for a good 75% of the book. I do not like love triangles and while this wasn’t as angsty as they tend to be it still could have been a cleaner story without the added complication of a boyfriend.

What I did like was how Justin and Peyton interacted together. They were cute together and their personalities fit well. I do think that Peyton was a little too forgiving but I also liked how Justin worked to prove himself to her. I liked how his character changed for the player to the committed boyfriend and I would have liked to see this story continue on for a few more chapters just to see them as a couple. Justin’s backstory hurt my heart at times as well and I thought that he was a boy who really needed a hug and I liked that Peyton saw beyond the facade and saw the real him.

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US isn’t a perfect book but it is a quick read and is out just in time for beach season. This is a great book to read on the beach or by the pool as its just not overly complicated. Its a fun coming of age story with some more serious undertones as Justin and Peyton are both working through some life issues that they are both too young to deal with. I adored Peyton’s family and her BFF Faith and really wish that they’d had more on page time. In the end, I liked THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US but it I just wanted sometimes more from this story so I didn’t love it. But I do think that it will appeal to many of my readers….after all….I do tend to be harder on books than all of you. If you liked THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING then you will most likely like this one.

 

irishdarkblue

 

 

Excerpt

“Hold out your hand.” At the expression on his face, I rolled my eyes. “Just do it.” Cautiously, as if I was going to put out a cobra or something, he uncurled his fingers and lifted his palm. I dropped a small silver coin in the center. “For luck.”

Wonder warred with confusion in his gorgeous brown eyes and my heart melted.

“On this side there’s a horseshoe,” I said, my cheeks warming with a blush. “You know, the universal symbol for luck… and a small reminder of me.”

I bit my lip, hoping he didn’t think that was too corny—or that it revealed too much.

I flipped the coin over, exposing the other side, and my fingers slid across his rough skin. My breath caught. When I lifted my eyes, I found him watching me with so much intensity, so much heat, that an actual shiver rolled through me. Just like in my favorite books.

Huh. So that was what smoldering looked like. Good to know.

I swallowed hard and noticed him do the same, and nothing could hold back my smile. Justin glanced down and laughed. “Kick some ass!” he read, skimming his fingernail over my initials.

“I figured…” I cleared my throat. “I thought you could hide it in your sock or something,” I said, unable to tell if he liked the gift or not. He just kept staring at it. “If it’s dumb, you don’t have to—”

“No.”

He’d said it so quietly I almost wasn’t sure he’d spoken at all. But then he closed his hand around the coin and raised his head. Time ceased to exist as Justin’s eyes trailed across my face. I held my breath waiting and a sweet smile crossed his face.

“Damn.” He shook his head softly. “You’ve done it now.”

“What?” I asked, hoping whatever it was that it was a good thing. “What did I do?”

Justin merely shook his head again and smiled. “Wait for me after the game.” Shifting his gaze to the old concession stand, he took a step back and said, “Over there, okay?”

When I nodded, excitement lodging in my throat, making it impossible to speak, he winked and then took off to join his teammates. As I watched his cute butt in those uniform pants run across the field, a giddy grin found my lips.

 

 

 

TNHoU - Signed Books

You can order a signed and/or personalized copy of THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US now through April 8th HERE!

TNHoU - Tour Teaser 1

 

About THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US:

One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart.

Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

Order THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US Today!

Amazon **Barnes and Noble ** Kobo ** IndieBound

Add to your Goodreads

 

Rachel Harris - Author photoAbout Rachel Harris:

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Signup ** Goodreads

 

 

TNHoU - Tour Teaser 3

 

Tour Stops

Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US– Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

March 28th

For the Love of Books & Alcohol – Excerpt

A Leisure Moment – Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

Home.Love.Books. – Review

My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt

Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Excerpt

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Excerpt

March 29th

A Crave For Books – Review

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Angel Reads – Review

Girl with a Pen and a Dream – Excerpt

Lovin’ Los Libros – Review & Excerpt

I Read Indie – Excerpt

The Phantom Paragrapher – Review

March 30th

Bookish Things & More – Review & Excerpt

Stuck In Books – Review & Excerpt

Reading Adventurously – Review & Excerpt

Typical Distractions – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

March 31st

Dazzled by Books – Review & Excerpt

Kindle and Me – Review & Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Review & Excerpt

Book Groupies – Excerpt

We All Make Mistakes in Books – Review & Excerpt

The Bibliophile Confessions – Review & Excerpt

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

April 1st

Bookaholics Reading Haven – Review & Excerpt

Books Eater – Review & Excerpt

SprinkleofBooks – Excerpt

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Review & Excerpt

Gaga Over Books – Review & Excerpt

My fictional escape – Review & Excerpt

April 2nd

Collector of book boyfriends – Excerpt

Caitlin Audet – Excerpt

Andi’s ABCs – Review

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings – Review

A Dream Within A Dream – Excerpt

Defiantly Deviant – Review

Book Briefs – Review

April 3rd

The Romance Reviews – Review

Cheyanne Young – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Review

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review & Excerpt

Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt

Blogging For The Love Of Authors And Their Books – Review & Excerpt

April 4th

The bookworms obsession blog – Review

Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt

Addicted to Books – Review & Excerpt

Bookish Escapes – Review & Excerpt

Adventures of a Book Junkie – Review & Excerpt

The Bookish Thought – Review

Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 5th

Book it – Review & Excerpt

Julie Antonovich Reece – Excerpt

Book Junkie: Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt

YA Book Madness – Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

A Full Bookshelf – Review

April 6th

Books and Boys Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Reading Is My Bliss – Review

Behind Closed Covers – Review & Excerpt

Jackie’s Book World – Review

The Procrastinator’s Corner – Review & Excerpt

KatyaRath – Review

The book slayer77 – Review

April 7th

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

The Lovely Books – Review

thebookdragon – Review & Excerpt

Aira Reads – Review

Reviews from the Heart – Review & Excerpt

Literary Misfit – Review & Excerpt

Love & Life & Learning – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

Alpha Book Club – Excerpt

Crawling Over the Pages – Review

Three chicks and their books – Review & Excerpt

Reviews By Rah – Review & Excerpt

All For Love of the Word – Excerpt

Library of a Book Witch – Review & Excerpt

The Bookmark Blog – Review & Excerpt

 

TNHoU - Tour Teaser 2 Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t miss Rachel Harris’s

The-Fine-Art-of-Pretending
THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING!

 

three-stars
Divider

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
Divider

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert

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

Review: Love Me Tenor by Annabeth AlbertLove Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert
Series: Perfect Harmony, Book 2
Also in this series: Treble Maker
Published by Kensington on 16 February 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 266
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Status Update, Beta Test, Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada // Kitsilano, British Columbia, Canada // Granville Island, British Columbia, Canada // Seattle, Washington // Tacoma, Washington // Olympia, Washington // Washington DC

First Line(s): The heater was broken again.

LOVE ME TENOR is the second book in Annabeth Albert’s Perfect Harmony series which began with TREBLE MAKER (my review.) LOVE ME TENOR follows Trevor who we first meet in TREBLE MAKER and who I didn’t get the swoony boy feels from in that book. But oh how Trevor gave all the swoons when it came to his own story! Like Lucas, Trevor was raised in a very conservative household but unlike Lucas Trevor’s family wasn’t nearly as accepting leaving Trevor homeless and penniless. So getting a call to be on a second reality show that includes room and board was like a sign from the heavens. The catch? He has to pretend to be a couple with Jalen a broody worldy jock-like guy.

Trevor and Jalen aren’t quite oil and water but they don’t get off on the best foot as each makes assumptions on the other. However, as they get to know each other better and as they deal with the over the top antics of the other two guys in their group. LOVE ME TENOR is a book that gave me all of the feels. I fell hard for Trevor and Jalen and their story just made my heart ache. Which, as many of you know, is something I just love in a story.

Love Me Tenor Quote

LOVE ME TENOR is highly readable and I found it really hard to put down. If I’m honest (and you know I always am) I’ll confess that I read this one in a day and I hated for it to end. With LOVE ME TENOR I think its safe to say that I am a total fangirl of Annabeth Albert and I want more books from her. You can be sure I’ll be checking out her backlist titles in the future but I definately want more books in the Perfect Harmony and Gaymers series because…THE FEELS!!!

One thing that I liked about LOVE ME TENOR was how that it was more than just a romance. Yes, there was the reality show aspect of it but there was also the deeper story lines involving Trevor and Jalen’s backstories. LOVE ME TENOR is a book that has depth as well as heart and its one that I can’t recommend enough. While I would have liked to have some cameos from Lucas and Cody I was pretty happy with how things played out. And I know that LOVE ME TENOR is a book that I will re-read a time or two or three in the future. So do yourself a favor and pick this one up today!

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Love Me Tenor

Special thanks to Annabeth Albert for her read-a-like recommendations!

Add Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan to Goodreads.

Add Calling the Show by JA Rock to Goodreads.

four-stars
Divider

Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: Coming in from the Cold by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Coming in from the Cold by Sarina BowenComing in from the Cold by Sarina Bowen
Series: ,
Published by Self-Published on 01 May 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance
Pages: 208
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, Him, The Fifteenth Minute, Us, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Hamilton, Vermont

First Line(s): Willow needed to keep the old truck on the road and out of the snowy ditch for just one more mile.

Its no secret that I am a big fan of Sarina Bowen and so I thought that it was finally time to check out her first book, COMING IN FROM THE COLD. COMING IN FROM THE COLD has an interesting meet and greet where the main characters, Dane and Willow, are both stranded on back road in Vermont in the middle of a snow storm. They huddle together in one car and one thing leads to another and they sleep together. There is chemistry between Willow and Dane to make the one night stand believeable but afterwards there is just too much insta. Insta-love, insta-conflict, insta-forgiveness.

Dane is likable and charming in the opening chapters but then he quickly goes from sweet to asshole and not in a delightful roguish way. He is kind of terrible to Willow and she’s already gone through so much with her cheating ex and the circumstances that ex left her in. Willow is a sweet girl and probably a little too naive for her own good. Which leads her to make some poor life choices. Like moving to Vermont with her cheating ex, letting said ex walk all over her, and falling for the asshole she randomly meets on the side of the road.

Coming in from the Cold Quote

I get that there is a reason behind Dane’s behavior and how he does have some legitimate concerns about the consequences from his one night with Willow but there are better ways he could have gone about things. He went from nice to asshole to nice again in a crazy whiplash inducing way. While I’m glad that his attitude did change over the course of the book it was just too instantaneous for it to seem real. He never really apologized to Willow for his churlish behavior and she just took him back without much resistance.

COMING IN FROM THE COLD wasn’t a bad story but it wasn’t great either. Its a quick read but it just felt a little disjointed in that the first half had a whole different vibe than the last half. The ending of COMING IN FROM THE COLD was also a little too cutesy for me which just made it feel a bit unrealistic. Even though I didn’t love COMING IN FROM THE COLD I do still plan on checking out the other books in this series to see how things go and to finish up reading all of Sarina Bowen’s back list to help tide me over until her next book is released.

irishdarkblue

IR - Coming in from the Cold

Add Running Back by Allison Parr to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Knowing the Score by Kat Latham to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: Leveled by Jay Crownover

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

Review: Leveled by Jay CrownoverLeveled by Jay Crownover
Series: Saints of Denver,
Also in this series: Charged
Published by William Morrow on 02 November 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publicist
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Better When He's Bad, Rowdy, Asa, Built, Charged

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado

First Line(s): Leveled. Laid out. Knocked sideways. Flattened and collapse. Breathless and stunned.

LEVELED by Jay Crownover is a novella that is billed as a bridge between her two series, Marked Men and The Saints of Denver. Although I do think that BUILT makes a better bridge based on how close those main characters were to the characters in Marked Men I just have to shrug and sort of accept this explanation. For when I first learned that Crownover was sticking around Denvery, so to speak, I was hoping that Dom and Lando would get a story. Those who have read the Marked Men books may remember these two, Dom is Royal’s (ASA, my review) good friend and Lando knew Rule’s (RULE, my review) twin brother Remy. (Hmm…Perhaps the bridge comes because RULE was the first book in Marked Men and ASA was the last.) Anywho, Dom and Lando meet when Rule, through Royal, helps get Dom into Lando’s physical therapy program as he’s recovering from an on the job accident. There is instant attraction and angst and heart achy feels that have you flipping the pages to see how things will work out.

As with all novellas, I wish that this one had been longer as I would have loved to have seen more of Lando and Dom’s families in the books. What little we did see had me smiling and wondering just how much better this could have been. I did enjoy this book but just felt that something was missing because we didn’t have a ton of time to develop the relationship between these characters. And then there was the dreaded epilogue. I always say that I won’t read them but then I do and always end up being disappointed and this one was no exception. It was just so vague and abstract and I would have preferred to have more pages of Lando and Dom in the now then in this weird time in the future that really doesn’t add anything to the story.

As a bridge between the two series I don’t really think LEVELED fits as Dom and Lando make such small cameos in each but as an introduction to Crownover’s writing and this world I think that this novella works. Its a quick read and Lando and Dom had some great chemistry. I’m glad I read this book and while I’ll always want more I do hope that we get to see more of this duo in the Saints of Denver series.

irishdarkblue

Leveled Quote
three-stars
Divider

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Audio Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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

Audio Review: Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder by Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Series: Lunar Chronicles,
Also in this series: Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter
Published by Macmillian Audio on 03 Jan 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Futuristic Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 Hours 6 minutes
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: Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter, Heartless

Place(s) Traveled To: New Beijing, The Commonwealth (Future)

First Line(s): The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.

Small fact about me. I have issues reading the last book in a series so there are times when I’ll wait to read a series until all the books are out (and yes, this totally is a trait of my mother but we won’t share that with her, right friends?). Another small fact, hyped up books and I don’t always get along. So its because of those two small facts that I waited until now to give CINDER by Marissa Meyer’s a shot. Because even though I know that hyped books and I are like oil and water I still get pulled into the buzz around them and right now everyone seems to be all aglow over the upcoming release of WINTER (Goodreads) which is the final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I thought to myself, if I start CINDER now and liked it I can then bounce from book to book and get to WINTER around publication and therefore not end up with yet another unfinished series on my plate. For I do hate to say goodbye to a beloved story.

Unfortunately, CINDER and I didn’t really get along as well as I would have hoped. First, there were just too many things that happened for convince. Like Cinder’s net-link in her brain so that she can easily look up anything that she could ever possibly think of so it makes getting out of tight situations so much easier. CINDER was also highly predictable. I pretty much knew very early on just how this whole book was going to go and not just the book but the rest of the series too. This is not something that a reader should be able to guess at only 20% into a story. Friends on Twitter tried to feed me red herrings but seriously folks that just frustrates me more than the predictability of a story. If I’m right just say I’m right and no cryptic bullshit…because I am not a fan of the cryptic. I was also bored throughout most of the story because once again in a YA fantasy/sci-fi book nothing happens until the tale end of the story. I get that CINDER is the first in a series and since its a futuristic world that there is more setup and world building involved than your typical contemporary read.

Cinder Quote

I get it I do and if the world building was there I may have enjoyed things more as I unearthed the treasures of this futuristic Earth. But the world building was just not there. There was very little detail given other than the very basic of things. We’re in the future…ok so flying cars! And internet everywhere. Hmm…what else can we toss in robots? OK! Oh and aliens who aren’t really aliens but lets give these former humans POWERS because why not?  Yup…OK we now have a futuristic world no more details. Oh wait…in the future things must get worse before they can get better so lets give this one lots of dystopian qualities because dystopia is HOT HOT HOT now. It was just all so very generic and as such made it hard to visualize this world that Cinder lives in. And then we get to my other least favorite part of CINDER. This is probably the part that I disliked the most in the book and turned me off the story more than anything else. The virus that was quickly spreading and killing off the world’s populace. The virus that seemed to change from person to person in the blink of an eye. The virus that had no clear means of how it was spread. That no one could figure anything about despite being so technologically advanced.

Another small fact about me. I am a science nerd and at one time thought about becoming a Virologist. So if there is one thing I know about its viruses and this book just things wrong on so many levels. But the most basic of which was how throughout the book they were all looking for an antidote. It was said over and over and it just made the science nerd in me cringe each and every time. Why you might ask? Well, I’m glad you did. Let’s do a quick google search on the word and see how antidote is defined.

ANTIDOTE: an·ti·dote / ˈan(t)iˌdōt/ noun

1.  a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.

Do you see the world virus in there at all? No? Now lets do another quick google search:

VACCINE: vac·cine / vakˈsēn/ noun 
  1. a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease

Now of these two words which is the most likely to use to combat a deadly virus? If you said vaccine then you get a gold star. I could have forgiven and overlooked so much on CINDER and how terrible its plague was written if Meyer had just gotten this one small word right. Ok, maybe not but this incorrect use of the word antidote really made my eye twitch and just grated on my nerves in its wrongness. And because I listened to CINDER on audio I wasn’t able to change the word in my head everytime it came up because someone else was reading the story to me. Which just made it all the more pronounced.

Even though there was much about this book that annoyed me, I did enjoy Rebecca Soler’s narration of it. I liked how she breathed a little bit of life into a dull story because this is one that I’d tried in print several times over the last few years but I kept putting it aside as it never grabbed my attention. Soler was Cinder and I liked what she did with the story. However, CINDER is a book that often jumps POVs and in that head-jumping way that I dislike so much and so there are several times when we are in a male POV and as such I would have preferred a male narrator. Granted since CINDER is filled with head-jumping this wouldn’t be an easy thing to do but Soler didn’t do the best with male voices and it was often hard to tell who was supposed to be speaking since they all sounded alike.

In the end I was left with a feeling a disappointment there was nothing about this book that had me dying to move on to the next book in the series SCARLET (goodreads). Other than the fact that my Lunar Chronicles obsessed friends on Twitter say that SCARLET is their favorite and its better than CINDER. I just wish that I felt the love of CINDER that they did because the premise was interesting it just fell apart throughout its execution.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Cinder

 

Add Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hard to Let Go by Laura KayeHard to Let Go by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink,
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good, Hard as Steel
Published by Avon on 30 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, War & Military
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: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good, Hard as Steel

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland

First Line(s): The warehouse was an abandoned shell.

Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye is the final book in her crazy pants Hard Ink series and features Beckett Murda and Kat Rixey who we first meet briefly in the previous book, Hard to Come By (my review). As with the previous full length novel, Hard to Let Go takes place in about a weeks time and so there is a lot of suspension of belief to the story given that the whole series ARC takes place in around a months time. Add to these complexities the fact that Kat is the sister of Murda’s very good friend and commander who is fighting some demons of her own because crazy motorcycle gang bangers were not enough to this whole storyline. Not to mention the set up for Kaye’s next series which will feature the good motorcycle gang, the Raven Riders (Goodreads link). Which I will probably read because sometimes you just need a little crazy pants action in the books you read.

As with most of the couples, Kat and Beckett have an instant attraction but they try to hide it by being all gruff and standoffish with each other. Partly because of Kat’s brother and partly because they are dealing with gangs that shoot rocket launchers at them. (Rocket launchers!! Seriously, I can’t get over that from Hard to Come By). There is also continuing investigation into the overall story ARC which just never really held up in this final installment in the series. The previous books were all leading up to this big crazy reveal but in the end it just sort of lost steam and fizzled out. I expected something more, something flashier and so was disappointed in the end. Not to mention that Hard to Let Go seemed to be more hurry up and wait than any of the previous books so it was a slower read than the others.

Baltimore, MD -- The glow of the city lights begin to equalize after the sun sets in a view from the top of the Domino Sugars refinery, above the inner harbor Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) [] (_1D34072.JPG)] COPYBLOCK: I had no time to waste. Knowing how fast the sun actually sets, I quickly assessed what angles might reveal good moments in time lapse, bearing in mind to also look for telling images of the skyline from the unusual perspective of being at the base of the Domino Sugars sign.  With two Nikon cameras, one GoPro, and a Lumix FZ200 in tow, I set three of the cameras to capture by intervalometer, at 2-3 seconds per frame. The FZ200 churned out HD video clips, but the files were later compressed in post at about 1000x live speed. In all, there were 13 different angles captured, with cameras being moved about on the roof an behind the steel frame of the neon sign, with little time to enjoy being in a place where few people gain access. My iPhone 4s recorded panoramic images, capturing a 180-degree image from the glowing neon icon to the inner harbor skyline, and then back from the cityscape to the sign as the exposure balanced between light source and sky at dusk. Using the two images created an almost seamless turn-around to show how the scene looked if spinning clockwise, capping off the shoot.

Hard to Let Go also added all these extra complexities to the who reason behind the units framing and dishonorable discharge that even with all the belief suspension that I’d done previously (I mean rocket launchers…in Baltimore!!) was just sort of tossed out the window. I rolled my eyes a lot in this book, not that I didn’t with the others, but there was a lot more of me mumbling “seriously?!” as I turned the pages in the story. Then there was the whole subplot of Kat’s that was just a distraction and diverted much needed words and attention for the big bad rocket launcher using baddies. Which made for a rushed and unsatisfying ending.

Hard to Let Go isn’t a book that I’d recommend to everyone as its not really a great story. Its rushed and unrealistic but there is something addictive about it all the same. The sex scenes are hot, though not as numerous as in some romance books, but the akward dialogue moments often ruin the moment. With Hard to Let Go I found it hard to connect with Kat and Murda and didn’t really care either way if they got together in the end out not. It just seemed a bit like more of the same rushed romance that we’d seen in the three other books of this novel. All the love interests all met and fell head over heels in a matter of days all while under intense outside pressures that its hard to imagine them lasting for any length of time. I definitely prefer the slow build romance over what Kaye brought to the table with her Hard Ink series and yet I was compelled to read every book. This series will never be a favorite and I will probably never re-read it but the thought of rocket launchers going off in Baltimore will always make me giggle. And sometimes that’s all you need in a book.

irishdarkblue

 

 

IR - Hard as it Gets

 

Add Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-stars
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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review2 Comments

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew QuickSilver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Narrator: Ray Porter
Published by Blackstone Audio on 09 October 2008
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Length: 7 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland // Collingswood, New Jersey // Voorhees, New Jersey // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I don’t have to look up to know that Mom is making another surprise visit.

I first became interested in Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick when I learned that the 2012 film of the same name was based on a book. The movie looked interesting enough and I had wanted to read the book before seeing it as that is my preference when it comes to movies based on books. But as sometimes happens life got in the way and the movie and book faded from my mind until I stumbled across it on Netflix. Needing a new audiobook around that time I decided to listen to this one and then watch the movie. The first thing that grabbed me with this audiobook was the narrator, Ray Porter. I just loved his voice and how he became Pat Peoples. I loved his energy and the humor he brought to this story as well as all the various other emotions that Pat goes through over the course of the book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, narrators really make or break and audio and Ray Porter definitely makes this one.

That said, I will admit that if I’d read this one in print there were sections of the book that I would have skipped. Not the main story but all the football chants that filled this book. These things are easy to glance over in print but with an audio you just have to sit back and suffer through them. Hoping against hope with each one that it will be the last. And then being disappointed when it isn’t because Pat Peoples, and most of the people that he knows, are obsessed with Eagles football and they spend a lot of time watching football, talking football, and going to football games. Which for this, non-sportsing person, was akin to mild torture. But as Pat is only just reclaiming his life from being in a mental health facility I can accept that those around him want to keep things simple as he eases back into the real world.

Silver Linings Playbook Quote

Then Pat meets Tiffany, who is also dealing with mental health issues, and the two form a strange bond. Pat wants to become this ideal man to win back his ex-wife and Tiffany wants to win this upcoming dance competition. Tiffany convinces Pat that she’ll help him with Nikki if he gives up football (in all forms) and trains for the competition with her. At first, I was a bit happy with this as “yay no more sportsing talk!” but then the more I thought about it and the more this section of the book progressed I liked it less and less. Despite all of Pat’s flaws, I liked him. Deep down he was  a sweet guy who was just dealing with a lot of stuff. Tiffany, on the other hand, was such a hard personality to like. She was mean and controlling and I just could not connect with her character. I just wasn’t a fan and never felt any chemistry between Pat and Tiffany which made this part of the book harder to get through as I wasn’t engaged.

Overall, I liked Silver Linings Playbook, and I enjoyed Pat’s outlook on life. I liked that he was always searching for that silver lining though the path he took may not have always been the best one. I thought the book was realistic and well written and I am interested to see how it plays out on film. I started it while on vacation last October but the connection was bad and watching on a laptop isn’t always the most ideal so I still need to sit down with this one. Silver Linings Playbook is definitely not for everyone but it wasn’t a bad read and if you at all curious about it then you should probably give it a read.

irishdarkblue

 

 

 

IR - Silver Linings Playbook

Add Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen to Goodreads.

Add The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: With This Heart by RS Grey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: With This Heart by RS GreyWith This Heart by R.S. Grey
Published by Self-Published on 06 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 318
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Scoring Wilder

Place(s) Traveled To: Dallas, Texas // Corpus Cristi, Texas // Odessa, Texas // Marfa, Texas // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): On a rather insignificant Saturday afternoon, I stood in a funeral home searching through rows of urns as if I was browsing down the aisles of a super market.

With This Heart by RS Grey is the second novel of hers that I’ve read and I was really hoping to get another book like Scoring Wilder (my review). Alas, that wasn’t to be and while I did enjoy With This Heart I was often frustrated by it as well. The main character, Abby Mae, would often break the fourth wall during the narration and it almost always took me out of the story. This wasn’t a book that I wanted the character to talk to me it was a book where I wanted to be more of a voyeur peaking into her life for a brief moment in time. There was also much awkwardness to be hard in Abby Mae’s interactions with other characters, including Beck, that would often make me cringe. The mom was overly needy and clingy and while I get the reasons behind it I just got annoyed with it and kept waiting for Abby Mae to put her foot down and say something only she never did.

Abby Mae and Beck were also two very frustrating characters. They had some chemistry but there wasn’t much to build a relationship on as they never talked about the real things. Abby Mae kept big secrets from him and she was also very jealous without cause. There was so much mistrust between them that it seemed impossible for them to build a solid relationship. Plus, when it came to the pointless breakup Beck was just a little too passive and accepting of it. Why not fight for the girl? Why not figure out a way to make things work without either of them having to give everything up. Life isn’t an all or nothing deal and long distance relationships can work.

With This Heart Quote

I did like that With This Heart  was a road-trip book as I am always a sucker for them. I do think I would have preferred this one a little more if they’d gone out of Texas a bit more. But Texas is a big ass state and there is much to see and do there. Especially since there was a reason behind all the stops that. I also found With This Heart to be a quick read and I read it in a single sitting. I still enjoyed Grey’s writing style and will check out her other books in the future.

With This Heart is also a book that may have annoyed me at times but I was still engaged in the story. I still kept flipping the pages to see what happened next and most of all I did want these two characters to find their happily for nows. I may not have loved it but I did like it and if you and I read with similar tastes then you might like it too.

irishdarkblue

IR - With This Heart

Add How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski to Goodreads (Click here for my Review.)

Add Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

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

Review: Lady Thief by A.C. GaughenLady Thief by AC Gaughen
Series: Scarlet, Book 2
Also in this series: Scarlet, Lion Heart
Published by Walker on 11 February 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 308
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Scarlet, Lion Heart

Place(s) Traveled To: Edwinstowe, England // Nottingham (roughly 1191)

 

First Line(s): The fire breathed, the dying embers flaring and cooling in a hot pulse.

 

Lady Thief by AC Gaughen is the second book in her Scarlet series which is a retelling of the Robin Hood story where Will Scarlet is not a boy but a kick ass girl. Lady Thief starts out with a bang and its not long before my emotions are turned to a pile of goo. I had tears in my eyes by the time I hit the half way mark and didn’t know what else Gaughen could do to make the ending so horrible. Until I got there and I wanted to toss my book across the room. AC Gaughen is an evil evil author and that ending was so uncalled for!! But damn if Gaughen didn’t deliver a stellar book as she systematically ripped out the heart of this poor reader.

When you hit the end of this book you just sit back and go…wow.

Its a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions and the action is pretty much non-stop once it gets going. And if you thought that Guy of Guisbourne was bad, just wait until you meet Prince John! This book is filled with lots of old friends and includes so new one as well. Stepping into its pages is like stepping into a hug until you are knifed in the heart by all emotions and feels that this book brings. This book made me swoon and it made me cry and it made me shout things like “No! No! No!!” There is tension and intrigue and so much goodness that the pages just fly by.

 

Lady Thief Quote

 

Lady Thief is a book that is far and above its predecessor Scarlet. Everything is just so much more in this story and once I started I found it hard to put down and when I hit that ending I was so glad that I had Lion Heart by my side because my need to know totally surpassed my fear of endings. Seriously, I don’t know what readers have done with themselves as they waited for the third book to come out because as I said on Goodreads when I hit the final page “WTF is up with that ending?!?! Sweet mother but Gaughen is the most evil of authors right now!!!!”

The dialect speak does still get to me a little but it seems like its less in Lady Thief than it was in Scarlet or maybe I’m just more used to it now. Lady Thief is a wonderful little book (even if it hurts your soul a little) and its one that I strongly recommend for all to read. There is something in it for everyone…action, adventure, romance, intrigue, and so much more. If you haven’t checked it out yet then you are seriously missing out. I’m also giving away a copy of Lady Thief (or other book in this series) as part of my January 2015 wrap up post just head over to this post and enter for your chance to win!

 

irishdarkblue

 
IR - Lady Thief

 

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

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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