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Publisher: Forever

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: When the Stars Align by Jeanette Grey

Posted by Irish in 2.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: When the Stars Align by Jeanette GreyWhen the Stars Align by Jeanette Grey
Published by Forever on 01 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Arecibo, Puerto Rico // Baltimore, Maryland // Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

First Line(s): You don’t ask, you don’t get.

I’ll admit it. I have double standards. We all do when you think about it and WHEN THE STARS ALIGN hits on one of mine. The heroine of WHEN THE STARS ALIGN, Jo, is one that really got on my nerves as she had a huge chip on her shoulder. And while I can sometimes put up with this more when its the hero it just tends to grate me the wrong way when its the female of the story. I don’t know why it just is. Perhaps because a male hero with a chip on his shoulder often comes across as more broody while female characters express this in more judgmental behaviors. And boy did Jo judge those around her throughout most of WHEN THE STARS ALIGN.

I had high hopes for WHEN THE STARS ALIGN because this was supposed to be a book about physics and romance. There was to be SCIENCE! Which if you know me is right up my alley as I am a scientist by training. So the lack of any real science was sad making. It also grated that this was a physics based internship at the Arecibo Observatory and there were people in the program that had nothing to do with physics or astronomy that just wouldn’t happen in the real world at least not at such a prestigious internship where so many capable applicants apply.

When the Stars Align Quote

The world building of WHEN THE STARS ALIGN could have also been better. Here we are in this beautiful location and we don’t really get a chance to see or experience it. The most we learn is that its hot. Well, there is that one scene where they go swimming but that scene bothered me in that Jo, a girl who can’t swim, managed to dive and do all these things while in a life preserver that just aren’t realistically possible.

For me, this book was slow and overly drawn out. I didn’t really buy the relationship between Jo and Adam. Adam was a genuinely nice guy, though a little bit of a doormat at times, and Jo was just mean and hostile. It was hard for me to get into the story and I only finished it because I was co-reading it with some friends. But the frustration levels were high and I thought of DNFing this one several times. In the end WHERE THE STARS ALIGN was not a book for me but it has good ratings on Goodreads so don’t take my word on it. =)

irishdarkblue IR - When the Stars Align

Add Catching Liam by Gennifer Albin to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The One & Only by Viv Daniels to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

two-half-stars
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: Opening Up by Lauren Dane

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Opening Up by Lauren DaneOpening Up by Lauren Dane
Series: Ink & Chrome,
Published by Forever on 16 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Erotica, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 313
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Bellevue, Washington // Edmonds, Washington // Seattle, Washington

First Line(s): “I don’t even know who that is, but I’d like to take several large bites.”

Opening Up is the start of a new series by Lauren Dane and focuses on PJ Colman and Asa Barrons. PJ is a bit of a black sheep in her family as she’d much rather paint custom designs on cars than walk the corporate path but she puts her time in the office in the hopes of her family listening to her business ideas. However, as the youngest and most wild of the clan she’s often overlooked and put down by her family. Eventually things come to a head and she quits to form her own business. Business that brings her into Asa’s path as he owns a custom garage and hires her to do paintwork on his jobs.

There is all the requisite tension between the two which is only highlighted by the fact that Asa thinks he’s too old for PJ.  Asa is no match for PJ though. She’s smart and sassy and she knows what she wants and its everything that Alpha male Asa is able to give her. I loved Asa and PJ together and thought that they had real chemistry. There may have been an age gap but these two are pretty evenly suited to each other. PJ is the yin to Asa’s yang and even though there is much awkward and cheesy dialogue I just loved how these two fit with each other.

Opening Up Quote

What I didn’t love was PJ’s family. They were all sorts of vile and manipulative. PJs sister and one of her brothers weren’t all bad but when her family was bashing and belittling her they didn’t stand up for her either. Telling PJ after the fact how wrong they were means little when you don’t do it in the moment when you had the opportunity to do so. I’m not sure how PJ put up with most of the Colman clan when she was doing so much better on her own than when she worked for the company. But then family is a fickle thing and its always hard to let go of blood.

OPENING UP was a quick read and I enjoyed it in the moment. I liked how there was no pointless breakup but as with most romances these days the ending felt rushed and while OPENING UP includes an epilogue it really didn’t do much to close out the story. I’m also not a fan of epilogues in general and I always tell myself that I won’t read them when I encounter them but then I do and I am always disappointed. Epilogue aside I’m glad that I read OPENING UP and I am looking forward to seeing how this series progresses with the next book FALLING UNDER (goodreads) which will be Duke’s story.

irishdarkblue IR - Opening Up

Add Call on Me by Roni Loren to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Fight with Me by Kristen Proby. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Before We Fall by Courtney Cole

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Before We Fall by Courtney ColeBefore We Fall by Courntey Cole
Series: Beautifully Broken,
Also in this series: If You Leave, Until We Burn, Until We Fly
Published by Forever on 03 December 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Erotica, Love & Romance, Movie Stars, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Chicago, Illinois // Los Angeles, California

First Line(s): The slap can be heard all the way down the beach.

After reading the novella, Until We Burn, I wasn’t sure that I would like Before We Fall by Courtney Cole as I really didn’t like the “hero” Dominic Kincade. But I am a sucker for reading a series in order and since I wanted to read Until We Fly I had to get through this one first. Before We Fall opens up with a completely pointless prologue and then continues into one of the most eye-rolly stories I’ve read in awhile. First their is the personality change in Jacey who is now insisting that Brand is, and always has been, like a brother to her which contradicts some of her behavior in If You Leave. If anything Brand was the one with sibling-like thoughts but here he’s a love sick puppy that Jacey uses for validation. Then there is Dominic who is even more of a douche in this book than he was in Until We Burn although at least this one is more cohesive in its writing.

Dominic was an ass but he made no secret of it. Jacey on the other hand would act like a girl proud of her sexuality but then blush like a virgin at the littlest hint of a sexual comment or if anyone looked at her. She’d change in her room, with the door open, and then get mad and self-rightous when Dominic watched. If you don’t want someone to watch you change….CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR! Jacey finacial struggles also seemed a bit off since her brother and seemingly everyone else around her was well off but then if she didn’t struggle with money should wouldn’t need Brand to rescue her at every turn. Oh how I wanted to slap her silly with how she knowingly used that man’s feelings for her to get what she wanted. She was manipulative and selfish and just a whole different character from how see seemed to ne in If You Leave.

The plot was also a bit ridiculous and the cryptic mytery of Dominic’s past almost made my eyes roll out of their sockets. The fact that he was so traumatised by it at 18 that he turned crazy sexual deviant? Um….really?!? I’m not buying it. Not to mention that this story was filled with the same coversations, over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure the story could have been half the length that it was if those repetitive moments. If this one wasn’t on my ereader you can be sure that it would have been sent across the room on more than one occassion. And yet, I did keep reading it. I am not sure why I was able to read this disaster of a book until the end but once I got to that epilogue I really wish I hadn’t. Because really?!?! Are you freaking killing me with putting in this paranormal-eske bullshit into a contemporary series where none existed before?!? I…just…can’t.

For me, Until We Fall, was a train wreck of a book and one that I wish I had skipped. The Beautifully Broken series is written in such a way that they can be read independantly of each other and I really regret wasting my time on this one. If you like your sanity, and your book tastes are similar to mine then you might want to avoid this one.

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irishdarkblue

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People who liked this book better than me

Vilma’s Book Blog: “The story culminates in an emotionally charged series of events as truths are revealed and life-changing choices must be made. I really felt the emotions the story evoked, and especially for Dominic, I really wanted him to find his path to healing.”

Schmexy Girl Book Blog: “Honestly, this book is such an emotional read. There are tears, lots of them. And aching hearts, and tightness in the chest. You feel all of that. These characters are so well written. You instantly feel their connection, their bond, their emotions, their pain, their suffering. And just when you thought the tears are done and they couldn’t get more damaged, there are more tears.”

Prisoner’s of Print: “The powerful emotions that run off each page had my heart and head all twisted up and kept me completely invested in Jacey and Dominic’s story. I couldn’t put this book down.”

before we fall2

two-stars
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: If You Leave by Courtney Cole

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: If You Leave by Courtney ColeIf You Leave by Courtney Cole
Series: Beautifully Broken, Book 2
Also in this series: Until We Burn, Before We Fall, Until We Fly
Published by Forever on 06 August 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Until We Burn, Until We Fly
Place(s) Traveled to: Kabul, Afghanistan // Angel Bay, Illinois // Chicago, Illinois

First Line: It’s the smell of blood that tells me I’m dreaming.
Beautifully Broken Series Order
Book 1 – If You Stay
Book 2 – If You Leave
Book 3 – Before We Fall (Dec 2013)

If You Leave is the newest book in Courtney Cole’s Beautifully Broken series and this one focuses on Mila’s sister, Madison, and an former soldier, Gabriel. Mila and Pax from, If Your Stay both make decent sized cameos in this story so fans of their characters will be happy to see just how their lives are moving forward. At first I wasn’t so sure if I would read If You Leave as I had mixed feelings on Maddy during my read of If You Leave. But reading the book from her POV she really grew on me. She had issues, and some of them invented, but she also had some reasons for her behavior. It was interesting to learn about her past and I was happy to see her overcome her fears and give a HEA a shot.

Gabriel was also a broken character and dealing with some pretty serious PTSD and I think that Courtney Cole did a fabulous job of writing about this issue. This is a very real thing that so many soldiers face and its nice to see authors like Cole and Trish Doller writing about it. Its something that needs to be brought to light and more importantly those that suffer from it need to know that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness but rather strength. Though I didn’t always agree with how Gabriel to decided to deal with his issues I did enjoy his character. Well, mostly. He was just what Maddy needed but that bit in the end where he did you know what….well, that made me want to smack him a bit. There were also some scenes during that time that just made me roll my eyes. As not every girl will fall at a soldiers feet just because he does or says something nice. Just no.

Overall, the plot was evenly paced and the writing was pretty solid. There was some cheesy dialogue and cheesy moments (mostly from Mila and Pax) but they didn’t take too much away from the story. If You Leave was also filled with realism and some of those heart achy moments that I love. I enjoyed the banter and chemistry between Gabriel and Maddy and hope to see more of them in the future. There is also some set up in this book for the third book in the series, Before We Fall and I am curious to see if my predictions are correct. If you enjoyed If You Stay than chances are pretty good that you will enjoy this book as well. Though, its not a book where the characters stay with me when I turn the final page. There was just something missing from this story that I can’t quite put my finger on. Its good but not great. Its a quick read and I don’t feel like I wasted any time in reading it.

three-stars
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

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

Review: The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica SorensenThe Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Coincidence, Book 2
Also in this series: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
Published by Forever on 30 July 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 273
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden

Place(s) Traveled to:  Afton, Wyoming // Laramie, Wyoming // San Diego, California

First Line(s): I want to breath. I want to feel alive again. I don’t want to feel the pain. I want it all back, but it’s gone.

The Coincidence Series Order
Book 1: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
Book 2: The Redemption of Callie and Kayden
Book 3: The Destiny of Violet and Luke (Early 2014)
Book 3.5: The Resolution of Callie and Kayden (TBD)

With the way that The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen ended a reader has to pick up the sequel to find out what happens next. Coincidence has this crazy ending and then it just stops and it was like someone had taken a complete book and ripped it in half to make two books. As much as I liked Coincidence and The Redemption of Callie and Kayden I do feel like the story could have been contained into one book. While there is much that Callie and Kayden still need to face and overcome there could have been things cut out to keep it all in one without sacrificing the overall story line.

I enjoyed Redemption but felt that parts of it dragged a bit. With Coincidence the whole story just flowed well and had a steady rhythm to it. Redemption starts almost where Coincidence ends then flashes forward a bit and then sort of stalls as the characters tread water. I still loved Callie and Kayden and my heart still broke for all that they had gone through in the past and what they were dealing with in the present. I loved getting to know Seth and Luke more and wish that they both had more page time. But Redemption was a little more serious in some ways than Coincidence and so Seth’s crazy antics were sometimes out of place. Though I understood where he was coming from as he tried to help Callie deal with what was going on with Kayden and coming to terms with facing her past.

I felt that the scenes where Callie told her parents what happened were realistic and it hurt my heart even as it swelled with pride. Because what Callie said wasn’t easy to tell or to hear so I was proud of her. And I know that she never would have made it to where she did without the influences of Kayden, Seth and Luke in her life. Callie and Kayden really worked hard in this book to overcome their issues and really put it behind them rather then burying the thoughts and emotions. Its a good and worthwhile story for people to read because it shows that no matter what happens, how bad life can be sometimes, that you can move on. You can heal and you can live that so called normal life that you see on tv.

Another small issue that I had with Redemption was the ending. Yes, it was a true ending (mostly) but it also lays the groundwork for the third book in the series, The Destiny of Violet and Luke. Which made me sigh a bit though I am also curious to know the full extent of Luke’s story. Throughout Coincidence and Redemption you only catch small glimpses and I am looking forward to seeing what makes him tick. I am also curious to see how he and Violet (who is Callie’s roommate) meet and find their HEA because she isn’t a big part in either of the first two books.

While I wasn’t in love with Redemption I did enjoy it and read it just a few hours. This is a world and story that is easy to get lost in. Jessica Sorensen is a talented writer and story teller and I am looking forward to what she comes up with next. She is definitely an author worth taking a chance on, if you haven’t done so already

Edited to add: One minor editing quibble that I can’t believe I forgot…there is one portion in the book where Callie’s mother calls her Callie Owens – her mother…and her last name is Lawrence  Owens is Kayden’s last name and they are so not married. This is something that pulled me out of the story and I really hope that it gets corrected in the finished copy.

three-stars
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