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Genre: Short Story / Novella

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Short Stay by Heidi Cullinan

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

Review: Short Stay by Heidi CullinanShort Stay by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons,
Also in this series: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts
Published by Self-Published on 24 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Chicago, Illinois // Las Vegas, Nevada

First Line(s): Elijah Prince would rather go to a sing-along showing of Frozen dressed as Elsa with a thousand whining children than go to the Acker Annual New Year’s Eve Party.

SHORT STAY is a novella by Heidi Cullinan that is a crossover between her Love Lessons and Special Delivery series. SHORT STAY is told from the POVs of Elijah and Baz from LONELY HEARTS (my review) and picks up not long after that book ends so you’ll definitely want to read that book before seeing where these two end up. SHORT STAY also includes lots of cameo interactions from Cullinan’s Special Delivery series which I had not read prior to reading this novella. So there were times when I was a little lost about which character was with who but overall I was able to make it through more easily than if I’d read the Speical Delivery series and not the Love Lessons.

I enjoyed reading SHORT STAY as I really missed Baz and Elijah but felt that there was a little more telling in this book than showing. The story felt a little more surfacy but it was a worthwhile story to read if you are a fan of these two characters. Even though only a few months have passed since LONELY HEARTS ends and SHORT STAY begins it was nice to see where these two were. I liked seeing how they still struggled a bit settling into their happily ever after but without adding in any unnecessary drama or pointless breakups. Elijah and Baz as still broken but they are much more healed than they were in LONELY HEARTS and by the end of SHORT STAY the reader knows that they are going to mend all their broken bits.

I do wish that there were more Walter and Kelly moments since they traveled to Las Vegas with Baz and Elijah as they almost seemed forgotten about once there in favor of all the Special Delivery characters. A cast that I may have been more excited to see if I knew more about them. Though I do plan on picking up those books as soon as I can just to see where all those characters originated from. Overall though, I did enjoy this story and would recommend it to fans of the series. There are some good heart achy moments and the story flows in a natural and organic way. It was fun revisiting old friends again along with meeting some new people. SHORT STAY is a book that will leave you smiling by the end and those are always the best sort of reads.

 

irishdarkblue

Short Stay Quote
three-half-stars
Divider

Saturday, May 14, 2016

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

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

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

Greetings and Salutations Internet!

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

HEAD, SCALES, TONGUE, TAIL by Leigh Bardugo

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

THE END OF LOVE by Nina LaCour

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

LAST STAND AT THE CINEGOR by Libba Bray

Place(s) Traveled: Deadwood, Texas

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

Rating: 2.5 stars

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

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

SICK PLEASURES by Francesa Lia Block

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

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

Rating: 1 star

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

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

IN NINETY MINUTES, TURN NORTH by Stephanie Perkins

Place(s) Traveled: Burnsville, North Carolina

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

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

SOUVENIRS by Tim Federle

Place(s) Traveled: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

INERTIA by Veronica Roth

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

LOVE IS THE LAST RESORT by Jon Skovron

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

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

Rating: 1 star

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

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

GOOD LUCK AND FAREWELL by Brandy Colbert

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

BRAND NEW ATTRACTION by Cassandra Clare

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

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

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, Illinois

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

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS by Lev Grossman

Place(s) Traveled: Lexington, Massachusetts

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

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

OVERALL RATING: 3 stars

 

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa DareLord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove,
Also in this series: A Week to be Wicked
Published by Avon on 08 December 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Road Trip, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 144
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: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot

Place(s) Traveled To: Hastings, England // Spindle Cove, England // Canterbury, England (19th Century)

First Line(s): By the age of three-and-twenty, Miss Elinora Browning had given up on wedding vows – instead, she made herself a promise.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a novella set in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cover universe and was a quick, fun story that I enjoyed. As with most of Dare’s books the two leads had some amazing banter and good chemistry. I loved the story of Nora and Dashwood and their scenes often brought a smile to my face. When they weren’t making my heart ache with their backstory. What I didn’t like about LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT was how the POV would split and go into other characters from Dare’s Spindle Cove books. Those POVs were distracting and didn’t add anything to the story for me. What I wanted more of in this book was more time spent with Nora and Dash.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a sweet romance and the declaration at the end will just melt your heart. This is a short novella but it feels like a full story. It was fun revisiting Spindle Cove and seeing some of those characters and I hope that we get to see Nora and Dash in the upcoming book, DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL.

 

irishdarkblue

Lord Dashwood Quote
three-stars
Divider

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi MeadowsThe Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen,
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King
Published by Epic Reads on 01 September 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 58
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King

Place(s) Traveled To: Skyvale, The Indigo Kingdom

First Line(s): James was down there fighting. I was not. And this was what jealousy felt like.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is the second prequel novella in Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen universe. It is the continuring adventures of Tobiah and James as Tobiah becomes the Black Knife. I loved this early look at James and Tobiah and I totally ship the bromance that is between them. I also love how James and Meredith interact and I would love to see a romance between them but alas fates and kings have different plans for those two. In THE GLOWING KNIGHT we also get a little glimpse at the start of the glowmen and of Wil and her Ospreys. It was a fun look at how things were before the paths of all these characters started to cross years later.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is a fast read and includes some more preview chapters of THE MIRROR KING (Goodreads), which are totally killer! Its a great little snippet to help tide one over after the crazy ending of THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) although its still not enough. It is never enough. I love this world that Meadows has created and I hate it each and every time when I have to say goodbye. This world is so rich and detailed that it almost leaps off the page. I also love these characters and I like these little glimpses into their lives. I love to see the world through Tobiah’s eyes and reading these makes me wish that the main books were dual POV stories as I’d love to know more about his thinking.

 

irishdarkblue

Glowing Knight Quote
three-half-stars
Divider

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Audio Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Fairest by Marissa MeyerFairest by Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Series: Lunar Chronicles,
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter
Published by Macmillian Audio on 27 Feb 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Friends to Lovers, Futuristic Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Sci-Fi, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Heartless

Place(s) Traveled To: Luna

First Line(s): She was lying on a burning pyre, hot coals beneath her back.

FAIREST is a novella in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series that was published between CRESS (my review) and WINTER but chronologically comes before CINDER (my review). FAIREST tells the background of Levana from her days as a teenager in her sisters court until not long after she becomes queen of Luna. Its a prequel story and can act almost as a standalone and for me its a book that I wish I had skipped. In the Lunar Chronicles books Levana is the big bag, the character that is the most feared and the ultimate evil that Cinder and her merry band of misfits has to beat. But in FAIREST Levana comes across as a paranoid, obsessed, and not quite on her rocker. She’s more pathetic than terrifying and as such she looses something in my eyes as a result.

What was interesting about FAIREST was the background it gives of events that happen before Cinder and company are born. Its interesting to see Luna’s side of the conflict with Earth and the origins of the idea behind Letimosis. There are seeds in this story that turn into story lines in the main series books and its also interesting to see some of the characters before they were teenagers. As a whole though I don’t really see the point of FAIREST in the series and if you aren’t totally in love with the Lunar Chronicles then you might want to skip it as I wish I had done.

The narrator for FAIREST is the same as in the other books, Rebecca Soler, and I almost wish that they had chosen a different voice for Levana as a way to separate her from the rest of the characters. FAIREST is the darkest of the Lunar Chronicles books and Soler’s voice is almost too light for the story. Though as a whole I do always enjoy what Soler brings to this series and its part of why I keep returning to the audio versions of the book. Especially since I tried and failed many times to get into the print version of FAIREST.

irishdarkblue Fairest Quote
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

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt: Hard as Steel by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Hard as Steel - Review & Excerpt Tour - banner

 

I’m excited to be able to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Laura Kaye’s HARD AS STEEL!! HARD AS STEEL is a Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Series Novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. It is due to be released on September 22, 2015! Grab your copy of this sexy novella today!

 

Hard as Steel

Amazon eBook ** Amazon Paperback

Review

During one of the books in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series we learn that one of Jeremy’s employees had her apartment broken into by the big bad trying to take down our fearless warriors. In the book, we learn that another employee Ike Young (who is also a member of the Raven Riders who are assisting in the big take down) takes Jess out of town for her protection. Hard as Steel tells their story of when they are away and acts as a bridge between Kaye’s two series, Hard Ink and Raven Riders. Its a quick read and can be read in about an hour or so and I was really looking forward to it. However, I ended up being disappointed as there wasn’t much substance to it. Especially since for most of the novella the two main characters were sick. Talk about unsexy!

Then when they were both well they went at it like rabbits and it was just too much. I’m no prude but it just didn’t fit with the story. Most of the book was spent with Ike trying to push Jess away and then all of a sudden you blink and they are declaring their love and then its the non-stop sex. Or maybe the declaration comes during a break…it all ends up as a blur if I’m honest. Hard as Steel had a slow start and then a rushed finished and like the previous novellas in the Hard Ink series really doesn’t add anything to the story. We don’t really learn anything new about the Raven Riders nor is there any plot development to the Hard Ink series. Its a story that just kind of hangs there in between with no real purpose. As an introduction to Laura Kaye’s writing this one might be good but I just expected something a little more from it.

irishdarkblue

Excerpt

I’m thrilled to be here celebrating the release of my 21st book, HARD AS STEEL! After a midnight break-in at her apartment, close friends and Hard Ink Tattoo co-workers Ike Young and Jessica Jakes are forced into hiding—and forced to confront the feelings they’ve always denied for one another. I have always adored friends-to-lovers and forced proximity stories, and HARD AS STEEL delivers that and more, including a taste of both my award-winning and best-selling Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series! Check out this excerpt:

“Any better?” Ike asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

Jess peered up at him. “A little.”

His eyes narrowed. “You’re still cold now, aren’t you?”

She shivered and pulled the cover tighter around her shoulder. “Yeah.”

“Fuck.” Ike scrubbed a hand over his bald head and mumbled something she couldn’t quite make out. “Maybe I shouldn’t have put you in the tub after all.”

“I think it was the right thing, Ike. I was so out of it. It is better than it was before.” She worked at a small smile. No matter how bad she felt, the last thing she wanted was to make him feel bad given everything he was doing for her. As if he hadn’t already gone out of his way in giving her a place of refuge and his personal protection for as long as she needed it, now he had to play freaking nursemaid to a sicky. Which, on top of everything, was super attractive.

The only upside to that ice-cold bath was that Ike had gotten wet and tossed his shirt, and Jess thought she might be willing to be sick more often if it meant getting to see him shirtless. Because, holy bad-ass tattooed biker on a stick, he was so freaking hot. Cut muscles, ink everywhere, two insanely delicious indents low on his waist. And scars Jess had never seen before and had no idea how Ike had gotten.

All that goodness and Jess couldn’t even see the big Ravens tat that she knew covered Ike’s broad back. But she’d seen it before, back at Hard Ink when Jeremy occasionally did a new piece for Ike. She’d seen it enough to know that she’d love to have a good reason to dig her fingers into that tat…

Oh, for fuck’s sake, even sick she couldn’t stop fantasizing about what it would be like to be with Ike. Just once.

“Jess?”

Her gaze snapped to his eyes. “Huh?” Hopefully the warmth crawling up her cheeks would pass for a fevered flush. Because she was so busted.

“I, uh, asked if you thought it would help if I got in with you.” The expression he wore said he was dubious about the idea.

And as much as Jess loved the idea, she didn’t want him doing anything with her that he didn’t really want to do. “That’s okay. Why don’t you go get some sleep now? It’s gotta be almost morning.”

He looked at her for a long moment, and then he tapped his hand against her arm. “Scoot over.”

“Ike—”

“Damnit, scoot your scrawny ass over already.” He cocked an eyebrow, humor sliding into his eyes.

“Well, I’ll scoot over,” she said as she made herself move. “But you and I both know there ain’t anything scrawny about my ass.”

“Jessica?” Ike said as he got in next to her wearing only his jeans.

“Yeah?” The minute he was down, she nearly dove into the crook of his body, her forehead against his neck, her breasts against his ribs, her bare legs intertwined with his denim-clad ones. She wasn’t sure where to put her hand, because the not-sick part of her brain wanted to touch him everywhere right now oh my god I’m in bed with Ike! But she settled for resting it on his chest, the hair on his pecs ticklish against her fingers.

“Shut up and go to sleep.” He took the edge off the words by clasping her hand in his and pressing it more firmly to his skin.

“Be nice to me. I’m sick,” she said, burrowing in further.

Ike wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her tighter against him. God, he felt good, warm and hard and strong. “Woman,” he said, his voice full of gravel. “This is me being nice.”

Tour Stops

Laura Kaye’s HARD AS STEEL – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

September 23rd

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

What I’m Reading – Review & Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review

JB’s Book Obsession – Excerpt

Love Affair with an e-Reader – Review

Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt

September 24th

Coffee-Books-Life Blog – Review & Excerpt

East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt

Blushing Reads – Review & Excerpt

Krista’s Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

Kelsey’s Corner Time – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Reads – Review & Excerpt

A little fiction of every flavour – Review & Excerpt

Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust – Review & Excerpt

September 25th

Naughty Book Eden – Excerpt

Reviews by Tammy and Kim – Review & Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

mignonmykel : reviews – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Hot Guys in Books – Review & Excerpt

JordansBookReviews – Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

September 26th

Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt

I Heart YA Books – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess – Review & Excerpt

A Tasty Read Book Reviews – Review

Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt

Those Crazy Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

September 27th

Ramblings From This
Chick
– Review

Connected by Books – Excerpt

Ripe For Reader – Review

Inner Goddess – Review & Excerpt

Cocktails and Books – Excerpt

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

My Favorite Things – Review

September 28th

MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It – Review

Echoing Books – Review & Excerpt

Book Sojourner – Review & Excerpt

Edible Pages Book Blog – Review

Dark Faerie Tales – Review & Excerpt

The Book Reading Gals – Review & Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

Bewitching bibliophile – Review

September 29th

Obsessed With Myshelf – Review & Excerpt

Sultry, Steamy Reading – Review & Excerpt

Love Affair With Fiction – Excerpt

Feeling Fictional – Review

Alleskelle Blogs – Review & Excerpt

Becky’s Book Bytes – Review & Excerpt

Teatime and Books – Excerpt

September 30th

Wickedcoolflight.net – Review & Excerpt

The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review

Typical Distractions – Review & Excerpt

Booklover Sue – Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

The book obsessed momma – Review

Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt

We stole your book boyfriend – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

October 1st

Books Need TLC – Review

The Book Junkie – Review

Bitten By Love – Excerpt

Sweet Reads: You’re In For A Treat – Review & Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review

Viviana, Enchantress of Books – Review

Confessions of a Bookfreak – Review & Excerpt

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

October 2nd

Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt

Cupcakes and Vodka Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Grownupfangirl – Excerpt

My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt

Talking Books Blog – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt

Once Untold – Review & Excerpt

G & T Indie Café – Excerpt

Brooklynn Gibbs – Excerpt

 

Fashinable muscular man with tattooes on grey background

 

 

About HARD AS STEEL: A Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Novella

After identifying her employer’s dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn’t make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.

Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he’s ever known, one he’s purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike’s not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.

 

Hard As Steel - Tour Teaser 2

 

 

 

Author PhotoAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

 

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Newsletter SignUp | HARD AS STEEL on Goodreads

 

Hard As Steel - Available Now

 

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

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

Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina BowenThe Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years,
Also in this series: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour
Published by Self-Published on 13 October 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Movie Stars, New Adult, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues
Pages: 294
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|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, Coming in from the Cold, Us, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Harkness, Connecticut // New York, New York // Huntington, New York

First Line(s):promised myself that I wouldn’t spend my second semester of college huddle in my room playing Dragonfire.

In The Fifteenth Minute, Sarina Bowen returns once again to Harkness University and this time tells the story of Lianne and DJ, both of whom we meet in The Shameless Hour (my review.) Though this is part of a series, just like the other books, it can be read independently. The story starts the semester after Shameless Hour ends and so Lianne and Bella have settled into their friendship. Lianne is still shy about wandering out in public due to the mixed reactions she gets but she is trying. She and DJ also have a really cute meet/cute near the end of Shameless Hour and I was glad to hear that they would be the stars of this book.

Both Lianne and DJ are dealing with complicated life issues and while Lianne’s issues are known (she’s an actress in a famous book to series film franchise – think Emma Watson as Hermione) DJ’s are not. Over the course of the story you do learn what demons DJ is facing and while at times the crypticness of it all annoyed me it wasn’t overdone. The story was heartbreaking at times as these two characters couldn’t always find a common ground despite the growing attraction that they had for each other. As with many a romance it tended to come down to all or nothing and there was no way to exist in between. Which also frustrates me in books. When that happens I just want to reach into the pages and shake the characters and yell at them to find a compromise!

Fifteenth Minute Quote

DJ could also be such a Debbie downer at times but I did love seeing him start to find hope in his situation. And I loved how he and Lianne interacted. I also loved Lianne’s interactions with DJ’s housemates and other hockey team members. It was fun watching them learn that she was more than just a childhood movie star and was someone who could kick their collective asses at one of their favorite past times, outside of hockey. The Fifteenth Minute was a quick read and I enjoyed it but in the end it didn’t give me those heart achey feels that I adore in stories. There was just something missing that kept me from loving this one completely.

Maybe it was because of DJ’s doom and gloom side or maybe its because I wanted a little more from the ending or maybe it was just that DJs epiphany came on so quick and sudden that it was hard to believe. There just seemed to be a few things left incomplete and it left me feeling unsatisfied. But overall I do still love this series and I enjoy each installment. I love all the cameos of characters from previous books and seeing where they are traveling to outside of their stories. I’m looking forward to Bowen’s next Ivy Years book as I do so adore the students of Harkness University and I am looking forward to catching little peaks into DJ and Lianne’s life to see where they end up next.

irishdarkblue

IR - Fifteenth Minute

Add Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Revived by Samantha Towle to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

three-stars
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini Review: Yours All Along by Roni Loren

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Yours All Along by Roni LorenYours All Along by Roni Loren
Series: Loving on the Edge,
Also in this series: Call on Me
Published by Intermix on 16 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Short Story / Novella, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 135
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Call on Me

Place(s) Traveled To: Dallas, Texas // San Francisco, California // Houston, Texas

First Line(s): If Hunter had to eat one more bite of cake, he was going to fucking lose it.

YOURS ALL ALONG is a novella by Roni Loren and a prequel of sorts to her full length story CALL ON ME (me review) and features Hunter and Devon. Hunter is about to get married but before he does his fiance sends him off to reconnect with his old college roommate and former best friend, Devon. Devon is openly gay and we quickly learn that he and Hunter had a secret relationship back in the day. YOURS ALL ALONG initially takes place in the present, though a few years before the events of CALL ON ME. Much of the novella is spent in the past, establishing the relationship of Hunter and Devon and while I loved reading how they became a couple I think that too much time was spent in the college years and not enough spent in the now and their re-connection.

There were a few things that I felt were rushed and a bit unresolved and if more time was spent in the now with Devon and Hunter as adults then those things could have been handled differently. I also think that Hunter could have handled things better with his fiance when he came to realize that he still had strong feelings for Devon. Overall though, I really enjoyed the story of Hunter and Devon for they made my heart ache for all that they’d gone through. YOURS ALL ALONG is a quick read and I look forward to exploring more stories from Roni Loren in the future.

 

irishdarkblue

Yours All Along Quote
three-half-stars
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini Review: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

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

Mini Review: The Hidden Prince by Jodi MeadowsThe Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen,
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Glowing Knight, The Mirror King
Published by Epic Reads on 02 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Family, Friendship, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 58
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Glowing Knight, The Mirror King

Place(s) Traveled To: Skyvale, Indigo Kingdom

First Line(s): “You’re dead again.”

If you’ve followed this blog for a bit or even kept track of me on Twitter than you know that Jodie Meadows’s THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) crushed me. It was a killer book and when it was over I knew I needed more in this world and while THE MIRROR KING (goodreads) is still a little ways off Meadows is releasing a series of novellas that feature James and Tobiah that are set two years before the events in THE ORPHAN QUEEN take place. The first novella is THE HIDDEN PRINCE and is set against the backdrop of Tobiah’s 16th birthday. At 58 pages THE HIDDEN PRINCE is a very quick read and is an interesting peak into Tobiah’s life before he started to rebel a bit.

As with, THE ORPHAN QUEEN, I loved the relationship that existed between Tobiah and James and while I did miss Wil’s POV I did enjoy this glimpse into Tobiah’s head. It was easy to get whisked back into this world and I loved seeing how Tobiah becomes who he becomes in THE ORPHAN QUEEN. Its a fast paced story that feels longer than 58 pages and yet is over too fast. Especially since there is also a bit of a cliff hanger to it which I am sure is the perfect lead in for the next novella, THE GLOWING KNIGHT (goodreads). While I liked this little glimpse into a young Tobiah there is also a part of me that wishes that the four planned novellas were all released together in one volume instead of piecemeal. The high price point for so few pages of story is a bit off putting so I was really glad that I was able to check this one out of the library. If you are a fan of THE ORPHAN QUEEN then I do encourage you to read this novella. Its fast and fun and I can’t wait to get more of Tobiah’s story.

 

irishdarkblue

 

Hidden Prince Quote
four-stars
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