Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Genre: Performing Arts

Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

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

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

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

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

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

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

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

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

enjoy-the-dance-quote

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: three-stars
Divider

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review: Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Dance with Me by Heidi CullinanDance with Me by Heidi Cullinan
Published by Self-Published on 26 July 2011
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, GLBT, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 418
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2010)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Enjoy the Dance

First Line(s): Ed Maurer tapped his thumb on his steering wheel as he inched through Twin Cities traffic, sloughing off a rough afternoon as he headed to Halcyon Center.

I became a fan of Heidi Cullinan when I read her series Love Lessons, in that series we meet a character named Ed Maurer who is the hero of her book DANCE WITH ME. DANCE WITH ME is a book with a trope that I like, the ol’ hate to love scenario and Ed and Laurie do not get along when we first meet them. Part of the issues between Ed and Laurie is because they don’t talk to each other. Once they do things start to change between them and they grow closer.

DANCE WITH ME is far from perfect and there were a few times where I rolled my eyes and got frustrated with the characters. There were times when the forward progression of the story stalled and Ed and Laurie just seemed to keep circling the same issues…getting and giving the same responses with the same distraction as a way to change one scene to another. Then there was that one scene that had me cringing. I won’t go into full details here but it involved a hot tub and a man that, while not blood related (I don’t think), but who Laurie called Uncle. And just *shudders* it totally took me out of the story and I wish I could scrub it from my brain.

dance-with-me-quote

Overall though I did like DANCE WITH ME. It was a quick read with an interesting cast of characters and enough momentum to the plot to keep me reading until the end. I liked Ed when he was with Laurie and vice versa. They two were opposites sides of the same coin and they brought out the best within each other. They each needed qualities found in the other to bring out things within themselves that they didn’t know they had. I liked how they worked to build a relationship even if they did go in circles at times.

As with most Heidi Cullinan books, the ending was a little too cutsey and too neatly tied up with a bow but I get why she gives the endings she does. They allow each book to be a standalone even as her characters spill out into her other stories. I loved meeting this version of Ed and Laurie which are different than who they are when we meet them later in the Love Lessons series. I like how her characters make these cross overs as it fleshes out the world that Cullinan has created and makes it a little more real. Her stories aren’t perfect but they do make for a good afternoon distraction.

irishdarkblue

ir-dance-with-me

Add Beta Test by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Monday, October 3, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy TrethwaySay it Louder by Heidi Joy Tretheway
Series: Tattoo Thief,
Also in this series: Tattoo Thief, Tyler & Stella, Revenge Bound
Published by Self-Published on September 28, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 246
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Tattoo Thief, Tyler & Stella, Revenge Bound

 

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I’m shaking as I leave Tyler’s loft.

One band. Five love stories. Too many secrets.

We’ve been waiting a long time to find out how the band Tattoo Thief will deal with drummer Dave’s toxic ex—and the secrets she’s been collecting on everyone. It was worth the wait.

You don’t have to be a fan of the series to love a book that starts fast with a huge wow moment and then unpacks the band’s secrets. In fact, you don’t have to read the earlier books because each book is a different love story about a different member of the band.

 About Say it Louder:

I had a choice—dump my toxic girlfriend, or break up my band.

It should have been easy. But she’s been collecting dirt on all of us for years.

Just when I think I’ve hit rock bottom, a pink-haired street artist rocks my world. They call Willa “the Parking Lot Picasso.” I call her my refuge, my center, my last reason to hope.

When Willa’s life on the streets collides with a sudden spotlight on her art, I’ll stop at nothing to protect her. But when the spotlight turns on my secret shame, she might be my only salvation.

Review

SAY IT LOUDER is the long awaited sequel in Heidi Joy Tretheway’s Tattoo Thief series and it picks up almost immediately after REVENGE BOUND ends. We see Dave at a crossroads with the members of his band and the after effects of choices he makes from that meeting. Though its a decision that’s a long time in coming since readers are well aware of the toxicity that is Dave’s girlfried, Kristina. We also know that Kristina won’t go quietly though I did expect there to be more tension and drama from her. The scenes with Kristina just fell flat for me as did much of this book. Perhaps, because I’d been waiting for it for so long that my expectations were higher than they may have been and as a result SAY IT LOUDER just never really lived up.

As an installment in the series, I liked where SAY IT LOUDER went but just never really felt the heat between Willa and Dave. Willa was intensely dislikable at first and Dave seemed a little wishy-washy. Willa does change over the course of the book but it seemed pretty sudden and I never really bought her change in behaviour. I didn’t really feel the heat between Willa and Dave but as a couple they did work. They definitely worked better than Dave and Kristina ever did. For me, SAY IT LOUDER just didn’t seem to hit the right now. It was well written but it just seemed to lack the heart of the other books and while I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I’d wanted.

A portion of SAY IT LOUDER was also spent introducing a new character, Ryan, and placing her into the path of the main characters. As with the introduction of Willa in REVENGE BOUND, this was all part of a set up and we learn that there is to be another book in the series, SKIP A BEAT. Which I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I like the idea of another rock star musician book but on the other I was ready for this series to be over. Ryan also wasn’t really developed enough in this book to give a sense on who she is and if her story is worth reading. Although, deep down I know that I will because I do enjoy Tretheway’s writing.

irishdarkblue

 

Grab your copy today:

Amazon ebook | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Paperback

 

sil-teaser-2

 

Get the first book in the Tattoo Thief series free (on iBooks, Amazon, Nook or Kobo), or dive in to Say it Louder by downloading a free extended sample for Kindle or all other devices. Check out this excerpt, and then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a signed paperback and special swag.

Tattoo Thief (#1) – https://heidijoytretheway.com/0px%20!important;%22%20/%3E

Tyler & Stella (#2) – https://goo.gl/WrLTff

Revenge Bound (#3) – https://goo.gl/Uq5VTR

Skip a Beat (#5) – releases Jan. 31, 2017

All buy links are at www.heidijoytretheway.com/books

 

About Heidi Joy Tretheway:

heidi-joy-tretheway-author-photo

Heidi Joy Tretheway is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, and chefs, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her tenth book from her home in southwestern Washington.

 

Connect with Heidi:

Contest

Enter Heidi’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Stops

September 30th                             

Socially Awkward Book Nerd     Review

Barbara’s Book Reveiws                              Excerpt

October 1st                      

Books,Dreams,Life          Excerpt

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium                   Excerpt

Vera is Reading                Excerpt

October 2nd                    

Sassy Girl Books                             Review

A Dream Within A Dream            Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog                Review

October 3rd                     

Southern Belle Book Blog            Excerpt

Ticket to Anywhere                       Review

Reading Tigress                Review

October 4th                     

My Favorite Things         Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews        Excerpt

October 5th                     

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess           Review

Reese’s Reviews               Excerpt

Bound By Books Book Review    Review

October 6th                     

Romance Book Nerd      Excerpt

EskieMama Reads           Excerpt

October 7th                     

Collector of book boyfriends      Playlist

iScream Books Review

Captain Reads A Lot       Excerpt

Inked in Chapters            Review

October 8th                     

CReeeBookWorld            Review

Renee Entress’s Blog      Review

Author Groupies              Review

October 9th                     

A Brit and a Yank             Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club Guest Post

bookshelf dreaming       Review

Ashley Book Blog            Review

October 10th                   

The Smut-Brarians          Review

Books to Breathe             Review

Books Need TLC                              Review

October 11th                   

Adventures in Writing    Playlist

Live read and breathe    Review

Novel Addiction                              Review

October 12th                   

Alpha Book Club              Review

Red Cheeks Reads           Excerpt

Wild and Dirty Book Blog             Review

October 13th                   

G & T’s Indie Café            Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs       Review

Ramblings From This Chick         Review

The Phantom Paragrapher          Review

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf      Excerpt

 

three-stars
Divider

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Act Like It by Lucy ParkerAct Like It Published by Carina Press on 30 Nov 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Performing Arts
Pages: 199
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Upper Bidford, England

First Line(s): Almost every night, between nine and ten past, Lainie Graham passionately kissed her ex-boyfriend. She was then gruesomely dead by ten o’clock, stabbed through the neck by a jealous rival.

I forget who first told me to read ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker but I do know that I saw mention of the book on Twitter (or was it Instagram?). But when I read the synopsis I knew that I had to check this book out as it contained a few of my favorite tropes and had the added bonus of being set in one of my favorite cities, London. ACT LIKE IT focuses on Lainie Graham and Richard Troy who are co-staring in a London play. Lainie is new(ish) to the stage but Richard is a well know star and he’s having a bit of a PR problem. The theatre company then decides it’d be a grand idea if Richard and Lainie pretend to date saying it’ll be a win-win for all. Richard’s image is improved by Lainie’s good girl influence, she becomes more well known, and the theatre sells seats. What could go wrong?

Initially, Lainie and Richard do not like each other. But the sparks totally fly off the page between them. They have a chemistry that can’t be denied and I loved watching their journey. ACT LIKE IT is a total emotional roller coaster that had me laughing one moment and near tears as my heart broke in the next. This book was a total heartachey read and I devoured it! Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop until I hit the last page and then I was sad because it was over. The feelings ACT LIKE IT made me feel were raw and real and *sighs* just so very wonderful!!

Act Like It Quote

 

I loved Parker’s writing style and I am sad that she’s a debut author because I can’t bounce over and read a huge back list of titles. Instead I have to wait with eager anticipation for her next book, PRETTY FACE, which is expected out later this Fall. I also loved how this book was set in a theatre and how Richard was this grumpy gus of an actor who comes around as he falls for Lainie. I do so adore my grumpy heroes especially those that resist falling in love because it makes their fall so much sweeter. And another thing I loved about ACT LIKE IT…no pointless breakup!! As per the romance book trope there is drama, angst and a parting of the ways and while I hated that there was a parting it was real, hard on the heart, and I loved how Lainie and Richard reacted.

ACT LIKE IT is one of those books I wish I could read again for the first time. Its a book that I know I’ll re-read and love every time. Its just a fun filled story and such a quick read that its sure to delight all the romance book readers who read my blog. It is filled with strong, smart characters with witty dialogue along with with sexy moments that positively sizzle off the page. As I’ve said there is a ton of chemistry and great banter between Lainie and Richard and they are a couple that readers are bound to love. For me, ACT LIKE IT, hit all the right notes at just the right time and just by writing this review I already want to pick this one up for a re-read. Its just that fun and enjoyable. So do yourself a favor and buy this one today!

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Act Like It 

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

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan

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

Review: Lonely Hearts by Heidi CullinanLonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons,
Also in this series: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Short Stay
Published by Samhain Publishing on 11 Aug 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 355
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Short Stay, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Saint Paul, Minnesota // Chicago, Illinois // Minneapolis, Minnesota

First Line(s): As far as Elijah Prince was concerned, gay weddings could choke on their own cheery goddamned glitter and die.

LONELY HEARTS is the third and final book in Heidi Cullinans Love Lessons series and follows two characters that we’ve met in previous books, Baz and Elijah. LONELY HEARTS picks up not long after FEVER PITCH (my review) ends and it deals with a lot of the fall out from that book. Of the three books in this series, I think that LONELY HEARTS is my favorite. This is a series that just keeps getting better with each book and LONELY HEARTS is sure to make readers feel ALL THE FEELS. At least, it did for me. I just loved Baz and Elijah and the growth that they both go through over the course of the story. These two are both broken in different ways and I just liked how they both helped each other to heal.

There are times that I felt that LONELY HEARTS was a bit surfacy and even a little cutesey near the end but overall I just fell head over heels for the story and found it really hard to put down. Overall though, LONELY HEARTS is a bit deeper and grittier than the previous books and that is due in part because the demons that Baz and Elijah are fighting are bigger. Elijah had such a screwed up upbringing and at the end of FEVER PITCH he’s left adrift and seemingly alone. But fortunately for him, he had Aaron for a roommate and Aaron isn’t about to let Elijah disappear into himself. Between Aaron and Baz and the rest of the gang Elijah really comes into the person that he was always meant to be. He’s not perfectly in his happy place by the end but he’s definitely on his way there.

Lonely Hearts Quote

Baz too is dealing with issues and I really liked how Elijah accepted his medical issues and also helped him to deal with them. Baz was injured badly in an accident years before LONELY HEARTS begins and so some of the affectations that you see in FEVER PITCH are really much needed shields that he’s put into place to help him lead as normal a life as possible. Baz is also pretty adrift at the start of the book unsure where to go especially with most of his friends having recently graduated. So it helps him to have a project (if you will) in Elijah as it helps to give him purpose. And through that he also stumbles onto a path that will give him a life after graduation because that’s not something he can put off forever.

I just loved how Baz and Elijah interacted throughout the entire story. Oh they had their ups and downs but overall they were just perfectly matched. They made my heart ache and had me turning the pages as fast as I could just to see how their story would end. But at the same time I hated to hit that last page because I didn’t want to say goodbye to them. This is one of those stories that I wish was longer, more drawn out, because then I could stay with these characters longer. Saying goodbye is the hardest part with a book series and that is so very true with this one. If you like a heart achy romance then you should definitely give this series a try!!

 

irishdarkblue

Lonely Hearts Quote

 

Add Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

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

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review: Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Fever Pitch by Heidi CullinanFever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons, Book 2
Also in this series: Love Lessons, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay
Published by Samhain Publishing on 30 September 2014
Genres: Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Oak Grove, Minnesota // Eden Praire, Minnesota // Minneapolis, Minnesota // Anoka, Minnesota // St. Paul, Minnesota // Burnsville, Minnesota

First Line(s): On his eighteenth birthday, Aaron Seavers navigated the sea of college brochures scattered across his comforter, searching for a future capable of pleasing his father without crushing his own soul. He was pretty sure he’d have better luck if he trekked out to the state park and hunted a unicorn.

FEVER PITCH by Heidi Cullinan is the second book in her Love Lessons trilogy and involves characters that we first meet in this book. Although we do get plenty of nice cameos from Walter and Kelly who were the leads in LOVE LESSONS (my review.) What’s nice about FEVER PITCH is that is does read as a stand alone so you don’t need to have read the first book although its nice to do so to fully understand Walter and Kelly. I devoured FEVER PITCH and read it in a single sitting and it totally made my heart ache right from the start. I was hooked from the start from Aaron and Giles’s first meeting to their separation to finding their happily ever after. I loved how Cullinan put her own spin on the standard romance script so that there was no pointless break up and yet still a whole lotta heart ache.

As with most romances, one of the big issues facing our two love birds is a lack of communication. But what does separate Aaron and Giles from the crowd is that they aren’t keeping pointless secrets from each other or making crazy assumptions based on the past and what little information they have on hand. Ok, so that happens a little bit but mostly these two are just too scared to talk to one another as they are afraid of taking the leap and getting hurt. At times it makes you want to shake them both but then its easy to get annoyed when you know what’s inside each of their hearts. What often matters in a contemporary romance is the payoff and FEVER PITCH totally wins at that.

Fever Pitch Quote

I loved Aaron and Giles’s journey. Not only are they college freshman (which comes with its own set of unknowns and anxieties) but they both also have lots of mental baggage to deal with. And its partially this baggage that keeps them apart. What I liked is that they do take the time to eventually form a strong bond and become friends and really learn about each other over the course of this book. Yes, there is some insta-lust as well but its something that totally works for this story and without it then we may not have had their epic romance.

I also really liked the various secondary characters that peppered the pages of FEVER PITCH. They were funny and real and just added a level of realism to the story that sometimes gets lost in books. What I didn’t like was the crazy bit of WTF-ery that happened near the end. It was totally out of left field and didn’t add anything to this story. Although it does set the stage for the third book, LONELY HEARTS (goodreads). WTF-ery aside though I totally enjoyed this book and know it will be one that I will re-read. If you like a good hear achy contemporary romance than look no further and pick up FEVER PITCH today.

irishdarkblue

IR - Fever Pitch

 

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

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

 

three-half-stars
Divider

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.”

Preorder LISTEN TO ME, fill out this form,

and receive an Exclusive Sneak Peek of

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

ListenToMe_Tour_Teaser2

.

Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

three-stars
Divider

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Audio Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review1 Comment

Audio Review: Where She Went by Gayle FormanWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Narrator: Dan Bittner
Series: If I Stay, Book 2
Also in this series: If I Stay
Published by Penguin Audio on 05 April 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts, Young Adult
Length: 5 hours 21 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: If I Stay

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Brooklyn, New York // London, England

First Line(s): Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.

Ok Internet,

I have a confession to make, are you ready? Ok….I didn’t really like the book If I Stay and so when its sequel, Where She Went was released I didn’t think that I would ever read it. It wasn’t until I saw the movie of If I Stay that I began to consider picking up Where She Went. I wasn’t sure I’d like the movie but I had screening passes so I went and I liked the visual form of the story so much better than the book. I became invested in Mia’s story and curious to know what happened to her when the movie ended. So I checked out a copy of Where She Went and gave it a try. As with some others I was a little surprised, but pleased, that the narrator  was Adam, Mia’s boyfriend from the first book.

Right from the start I thought that Where She Went was a pretty solid read. I was engrossed in the story and my heart really went out to Adam and all that he was going through. Yes, I felt for Mia as well but how things went, its just that Adam seemed so very broken and Mia was just cracked but still on the mend. I also liked the epigraphs featuring lyrics from Adam’s bands album at the start of each chapter. These just highlighted how much Adam had changed in the three years since If I Stay and just how far he had separated himself from all those that he loved.

Where She Went Quote

Where Where She Went lost me at the end….and spoiler alert if you haven’t read this one yet…so Adam and Mia are on a bridge and they are finally talking about the horrible thing Mia did in just cutting off Adam without a word. There is tension, lots of tension, and exclamations from me saying “Finally! Finally Adam is confronting Mia!” And then the tension just breaks and for with a sigh Adam is all you’re forgiven and I am fixed. That the last three years of guilt and torture and all that other crap he’s been putting himself and those around him through was just done. Then there was this rush to a happily ever after that just felt a bit unreal. It wasn’t solid and I just feel that eventually Adam and Mia will split again over resentments that they don’t realize still exist.

Overall I loved the narrator, Dan Bittner, and thought that he was perfect for Adam but he did a horrible job with the female voice. There is a small chance that my dislike with Mia also made me dislike Bittner’s narration of her lines but as I said, that’s just a small chance. This is a narrator that I would listen to again and when I do I’ll be able to better evaluate Bittner’s skill with doing female voices.

 

irishdarkblue

 

Irish Recommends - Where She Went
four-stars
Divider

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Walker on 15 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts, Road Trip, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Start of Me and You

Place(s) Traveled To: Nashville, Tennessee // Charlotte, North Carolina //Richmond, Virginia // Charleston, South Carolina // Little Rock, Arkansas // Wichita, Kansas // Los Angeles, California // Shreveport, Louisiana // Jackson, Mississippi // Mobile, Alabama // Knoxville, Tennessee // New York, New York // Baltimore, Maryland // Cincinnati, Ohio

First Line(s): The fans scream for her, but they don’t really know the girl on the magazine covers – the girl with the guitar and the easy smile.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord wasn’t a book on my radar until it was sent to me when I made a request for another book and once I read the back I knew that this would be a book for me. Once I read the words road trip I knew that I had to read it because everyone knows what a sucker I am for the road trip novel. Open Road Summer didn’t disappoint in this either and every chapter begins with a place name letting the read know roughly where they are in the US. The story itself follows Reagan and her BFF Dee, who is better known to the world as Lilah an up and coming country music star. Reagan and Dee are both getting out of relationships and while it was a good choice for Reagan, Dee is devastated. The reasons for both become clear as you read the story and your heart will ache for Dee. Along the way some bad publicity threatens to overshadow Dee’s tour so in comes Matt Finch, former boy band star who is going solo, and a perfect match for Dee. At least, on the surface.

Once I started Open Road Summer I couldn’t put it down and I read it in a single sitting, on Valentine’s day no less. I feel hard for this book and I loved the relationship between Dee and Reagan. So often in books the main character has a best friend who really isn’t a friend at all. They are mean and hateful and when the going gets tough they ditch their friend and are never there when they need them. That isn’t the case with Dee and Reagan. They are true friends and while they do have their ups and downs you know that their friendship is the lasting kind. Especially since Reagan isn’t always the easiest person to get along with. I also really loved how Matt fit into their group and how his relationship with Reagan. It was real and heartachey and just makes you feel all the feels.

There is so much to love about Open Road Summer its hard to put it all into words. Its a book that is really well written and its hard to believe that this is Emery Lord’s debut novel. Its a book that reminds me of favorite authors like Morgan Matson, Tiffany Schmidt, and Trish Doller. Open Road Summer is so very real and I hated for it to end. I hated that I read this months before its release because its going to be all the longer before there is another Emery Lord book in the word. Its a book that I know I’ll re-read again and again and bully others to read it as well. But there is something magical about reading an unexpected gem for the first time and Open Road Summer hits all those right notes.

Open Road Summer is a book that everyone needs to have on their radar as I think there is something in it for everyone. Its a road trip book, a contemporary story, a book about friendship, and falling in love. Its a book that will make you laugh and hurt your heart and then put all the pieces back together again. Love just isn’t a big enough word for my feelings on this book.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
Divider

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Trethway

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Trethway

Blog Tour Review: Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy TrethwayTyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Tretheway
Series: Tattoo Thief, Book 2
Also in this series: Tattoo Thief, Revenge Bound, Say it Louder
Published by Self-Published on 20 February 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Performing Arts
Pages: 275
Format: eARC
Source: Inkslinger PR
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Tattoo Thief, Revenge Bound, Say it Louder

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York

First Line(s): I never hated myself as much as I do right now.

Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Trethway picks up a little before the end of Tattoo Thief and is told from Stella’s POV. You get to see a bit more of her motivation behind stealing the video but the way that whole scenario played out is still a bit unsatisfactory. And the big cryptic secret/envelope that she had was a little underwhelming as well. Although, despite these things I did enjoy Stella’s story more than I did Beryl’s and I think a good reason for that is because Stella and Tyler actually spent most of the book together.

I liked how Stella and Tyler started as friends(ish) and then roommates and then as a couple. It made their realtionship seem real and tangible which is part of what I think was missing from Beryl and Gavin’s story. Since I liked the main characters better I found Tyler & Stella to be a quick read as I wanted to see how they would get to their HEA. I also wasn’t disappointed at all that there wasn’t a ton of cameos from Beryl. Normally I love it when characters from previous books keep popping in on the next one but in this case I was happy for the focus to be on Stella and Tyler. And I could have done with a little less Violet. Though I get why she was around so much as its a set up for her story which will be coming next.

As with, Tattoo Thief, this one ends with a random dialogue scene that is a lead in for the next book and it just left me sighing. And not a sigh of happiness either. This method of ending just seems so forced to me as if its trying to be a cliff hanger but without the suspense or drama that cliff hangers usually have. So if I ever re-read this story then I will have to make a notation to stop before I get to that very last chapter. I much preferred the story ending with some happy times/thoughts between Tyler and Stella and not with other characters.

Overall, I enjoyed Tyler & Stella and its one that I would recommend those that like new adult, rock starts, and books about second chances. Its a companion to Tattoo Thief and can probably be read independently of the first book since this one starts before that one ends so all the main points of that book are pretty well covered. The writing and the pacing were good and I found myself cheering Stella and Tyler on as they searched for their HEA. They are both flawed people with issues and they manage to overcome them and find a common ground. Tyler and Stella compliment each other in a way that I found missing from Beryl and Gavin’s story and I was sad when this one was over. While I will read Violet and Jace’s story when it comes out I have a feeling that Tyler & Stella will remain my favorite of the lot.

irishdarkblue

Tyler & Stella Synopsis:

Stella Ramsey always says bad boys can’t break your heart. They don’t call, don’t cuddle and don’t send flowers—but what do you expect? For Stella, no strings means no regrets.

When the biggest story of her fledgling career as a music journalist nearly ruins her relationship with her best friend, Stella has one chance to redeem herself. Tyler Walsh could be that chance.

Stella promises the bassist for the rock band Tattoo Thief anything in exchange for behind-the-scenes access. But Tyler doesn’t want anything. He wants everything—and that’s more than Stella is prepared to give.

When Tyler’s explosive secret thrusts Stella into the media spotlight, she must choose between the selling the story and telling the truth—and exposing the truth about herself as well.

Tyler & Stella (Tattoo Thief #2) is a sizzling story of lust, lies, and sacrifice, revealing how much love can forgive.


Heidi Joy Trethway  Bio:

Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.

Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.

You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.

She loves to hear from readers via messages at facebook.com/author.heidi.

Links:

 

Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Author Goodreads // Tyler & Stella Goodreads

 

 

Heidi Joy Trethway  Bio:

Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.

Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.

You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.

She loves to hear from readers via messages at facebook.com/author.heidi.

 

Contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

Feb 21

Dirty Hoe’s Book Blog     Dreamcast

Books to Breathe             Review

Feb 22

BestSellers & BestStellars             Playlist

Ramblings From This Chick           Review

Feb 23

sofia loves books             Review

Read-Love-Blog                                Review

Feb 24

Made For You Book Reviews                      Review

All booked out                  Excerpt

Feb 25

All Romance Reviews                     Review

Cocktails and Books                        Review

Feb 26

Holly’s Hot Reads                             Guest Post

Our Fictional Boyfriends                                Review

Feb 27

A Life Bound By Books   Review

Ficwishes                             Excerpt

Feb 28

Live Read and Breathe                   Review

Brianna Lee Book Reviews           Guest Post

Mar 1

Sassy Girl Books                                Review

Reading Between the Wines      Guest Post

Mar 2

deal sharing aunt                             Dreamcast

Ticket to Anywhere                        Review

Mar 3

My Daily Romance                           Review

Mar 4

Nomi’s Paranormal Palace           Excerpt

Fabulously Girly Book Blog           Playlist

Mar 5

Romance Addict Book Blog          Review

The Book Bellas                 Review

Mar 6

Gigi’s Book Blog                 Review

Smokin’ Hot Book blog   Dreamcast

Mar 7

Sarah’s Bookshelf            Review

mustreadbooksordie     Excerpt.

 

three-half-stars
Divider