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Publisher: Harper Collins

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanA Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon on August 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 392
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1834)

First Line(s): Miss Lillian Hargrove was the most beautiful woman in England.

 

I always get a little giddy when a new Sarah MacLean books is placed in my hands and I was super excited to get an early copy of her newest, A SCOT IN THE DARK. I really liked the first book in this new series, THE ROGUE WORTH TAKING (my review) and was looking forward to seeing more of King’s friend the Duke of Warnick. And while I liked this book I didn’t love it as much as the first in the series but any book that has Freddie (aka the Earl of Stanhope) in it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I enjoyed the chemistry between Warnick and Lily but, for me, there was just something missing from this one and looking back I can’t quite put my finger on what.

A SCOT IN THE DARK was a quick read but its also one that I found easy to put down. There was nothing about it that made me want to keep picking up. Though when I was reading it I was throughly engaged and even laughed out loud on several occasions. There is some good banter between the hero and heroine but they just paled in comparison to King and Sophie from the first book. Those two just set a really high bar and Warnick and Lily didn’t live up. But they did have some really fun scenes together and I loved the cameos from the Talbot sisters. I think perhaps, part of my disappointment with A SCOT IN THE DARK is because it wasn’t a Talbot sister book. I just got really attached to that crazy family and it was hard to say goodbye to them.

scot-in-the-dark-quote

My disappointment is all my own. I think that any devoted reader of Sarah MacLean will love A SCOT IN THE DARK. There is humor and adventure and potential for scandal around every corner. There is chemistry and heart ache and a book that has a lot but still remains true to the love story at its core. There is some fun banter between the main characters and some good side scenes when they are not sharing a page. I just wish that I was able to connect with the lead characters more which would have had me liking this book more than I did.

A SCOT IN THE DARK is a book that can be read as a standalone but why would you want to? It totally helps to read all of MacLean’s books in publication order because then you can enjoy the cameos all the more. I just love how those little cameos really help to flesh out a world and make it seem more real across the various series that MacLean writes. And MacLean can write, that is something that never changes from book to book. She is a gifted author and one that I think all lovers of romance should experience. I know that I, for one, am already looking forward to her next book even though April 2017 seems like its an eternity away!

 

irishdarkblue

ir-scot-in-the-dark

Add Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen to Goodreads.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya RodaleChasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, Book 2
Published by Avon on 28 June 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Lady Bridget's Diary

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1824)

First Line(s): It was in the illustrious and exclusive Almack’s assembly rooms that Lady Amelia Cavendish, previously of America and presently of England, officially confirmed that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was not all it was cracked up to be, in part because she was not permitted to use phrases like cracked up.

CHASING LADY AMELIA is the second book in Maya Rodale’s Keeping up with the Cavendishes series. A lot of this book happens concurrently with the events in LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY (my review) so it was interesting to get a look at events from different points of view. I found CHASING LADY AMELIA to be a fun, quick read though probably wasn’t my best choice to pick up after reading a Bridgerton book. That family just outshines all others though I do like the bond between the Cavendishes and the humor that they find in their daily lives. They are a quirky lot and I think they’d get along well with the Bridgerton’s though I don’t think that the Ton would survive them both!

Amelia is a totally likable fish out of water character who just wants to find her own place in the world. She is a woman born ahead of her time and so finds herself feeling trapped by the rules of polite society and just wants to go out and explore the world. Which she decides to do for one day because if she’s going to get in trouble for sneaking out she might as well make the most of the situation. Along the way she meets, Alistair Finlay-Jones, who is heir to a title, a past that causes him much angst, and an uncle who thinks it’d be just the thing for the family fortune for him to marry one of those ghastly Americans. There is real chemistry between Alistair and Amelia and I loved the time that they spent together and their journey to a HEA.

Chasing Lady Amelia Quote

 

There were times when CHASING LADY AMELIA totally made my heart ache because of the misunderstandings and inner denials that both Amelia and Alistair go through. But there is no denying that they are each others yin and yang. These two really balance each other out and if anyone can keep adventure seeking Amelia on her toes it is Alistair. I also liked all the appearances of the other Cavendish’s but I wasn’t a fan of all the crazy POVs. There was a lot of head jumping going on and not just between our hero and heroine and that just got old for me real fast. I also found CHASING LADY AMELIA to be repetitive at times and I can understand it, to a point, but oy it got old.

Overall, CHASING LADY AMELIA is a fun addition to the series and I am looking forward to the next installment, LADY CLAIRE IS ALL THAT which is expected out in December of this year. If you are a fan of historical romances then you should probably check this series out. The stories are all loosely based on popular books/movies and its fun to see how Rodale adapts something modern into a historical setting. They are fun books and a good way to spend a summer afternoon or a cold winters day. 🙂

irishdarkblue

IR - Chasing Lady Amelia

 

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia QuinnBecause of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys,
Published by Avon on 29 March 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Pages: 375
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kent, England // London, England (1779)

First Line(s): It wasn’t that Billie Bridgerton was lacking in common sense.

I’ve always been a fan of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series of books so I was excited to see that she was writing a prequel (of sorts) that goes back in time to visit Billie Bridgerton, who is the infamous Edmund’s quirky older sister. In BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON, Edmund is just a teenager, away at school but through Billie we see that the quirks of the Bridgerton clan are a long ingrained thing and as a reader I wouldn’t have it any other way. Billie’s hero is her long suffering neighbor, George Rokesby, who is heir to an Earldom and the older brother of Edward and Andrew (AKA Billie’s partners in crime.) BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON is a total opposites attract story and I loved every single moment of it.

I just loved the banter between not just George and Billie but with all of the characters. It was real and funny and just helped me to whiz through the pages. I loved how Andrew took great delight in baiting George and Billie because he realized (as did most others) just how perfect they’d be for each other long before they came to that conclusion. Andrew is definitely a character that I adored and I can not wait to read his story! The chemistry between George and Billie leaps off the page and I loved watching journey as they got to know each other and fell in love. It wasn’t an easy journey, because Bridgerton stubbornness and the pride of an English lord but for the reader it was a fun one.

Because of Miss Bridgerton Quote

 

I found that I flew through the pages of BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON and loved all the various layers of the story. There is more to this book than just boy meets girl which just adds to the realism of the story. My one big complaint would probably be that BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON had to end as I hated to say goodbye to these characters. If you look slow burn stories with fun banter and shenanigans then look no further than this book. This story pretty much has it all and totally made my heart ache!! Oh the feels that it will make you feel!!

I hated to put BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON down and the moment I finished I was torn between reading it again or in restarting the original Bridgerton series. While I didn’t do either I do still plan to re-read the original Bridgerton books and fall in love with this family anew. BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGETON is classic Julia Quinn and its sure to delight both new readers and old. I’m eager to see just where Quinn takes these Rokesby brothers next and I hate that I have to wait a whole year for the next book!! At least I’ll have George and Billie and their numerous nieces and nephews to keep me company until then.

irishdarkblue

IR - Because of Miss Bridgerton

 

Add Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas to Goodreads.

Add Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay Crownover

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

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay Crownover

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay CrownoverCharged by Jay Crownover
Series: Saints of Denver, Book 2
Also in this series: Leveled
Published by William Morrow on 24 May 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 361
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: Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Better When He's Bad, Rowdy, Asa, Leveled, Built

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado

First Line(s): Don’t worry, Sprite, bad decisions always make for good stories…

CHARGED is the newest book in Jay Crownover’s Saints of Denver series and involves characters that we’ve met in this series and also in Crownover’s Marked Men books. Avett is the daughter of the man who used to own the Bar that Rome (my review) now owns and Quaid is the lawyer who helped Asa (my review) out when he got in too deep. CHARGED is the quintessential opposites attract story with the very uptight straight laced lawyer falling for the girl who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. They meet when Quaid is hired to help Avett when she’s arrested as a result of the events that happened in ASA. Avett is one of those characters that I’ve been interested in since she first walked across the page because she just seemed in desperate need of a HEA so I was excited to read her story. However, for me, she went from being an interesting character to one that annoyed me at every turn.

Like most broken characters, Avett has a tragic backstory but I don’t buy her actions that result from it. She claims that she’s trying to redeem herself for the mistakes of her past and yet she only continues on her path of self-destruction. If someone was truly on a path of redemption then wouldn’t they be trying to become better than they were and not continue to make poor choices? Although if she didn’t then she may not have encountered Quaid as they don’t come anywhere close to running in the same circles even though Quiad is friends with people who are part of her circle.  One thing I did like is the growth that both Quaid and Avett went through over the course of the novel as they each found a way to bring balance and stability into their lives.

CHARGED - Tour Teaser 2

CHARGED is more than just a boy meets girl love story and while I often love romances that have a little meat on their bones this one just seemed a little too over the top. I also wasn’t a fan of the random POV that happened at the 80% mark. There was absolutely no reason for it and it didn’t add anything to the story. All it did was set up a character for the next book to come, a character which was already introduced in the Marked Men series and so really didn’t need a POV chapter here. Especially since, to date, Crownover has stuck with POVs just from her hero and heroine. To me, this just distracted me and took me out of the story as it just didn’t fit.

Overall, CHARGED was just an ok read for me. It was a book that I wanted to love as I often love Crownover’s characters but Avett just annoyed me too much. CHARGED is a quick read and I know that it is going to appeal to many readers. I know I am picky and can be hard on books so what bothers me is sure to not be an issue for other readers. If you are a fan of Jay Crownover then pick up CHARGED you will probably like it.

irishdarkblue

From New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover comes CHARGED, the latest in her sexy The Saints of Denver Series, releasing May 24th! Known for her strong heroines and alpha males, you won’t know what hit you as you read Avett and Quaid’s story. Keep reading for more about the Leagle Eagle and Avett and order your copy today.

Excerpt

Avett

                I blew out a breath and felt that bottom I had careened onto reach up to embrace me even tighter. “It is what it is. I’ve let both my folks down a lot over the last few years but getting caught up with a guy that would rob the bar, a guy who could threaten my dad’s people.” I shook my head. “I deserve to rot.”

                I was being overly dramatic but that’s how I felt. I deserved to sit in jail and so much worse than that. Self-pity was good company down here at rock bottom and I wasn’t ready to let go of the warmth it provided just yet.

                He gave me a look I couldn’t read and headed for the door. “I’ll call your parents for you and see if we can have something in place before tomorrow. Working on your case will be a lot easier for both of us if you aren’t incarcerated. Remember, you need to listen to me, Ms. Walker. That’s the first rule in all of this.”

                Panic hit me like a truck. What if he called my dad and my dad told him he’d had enough of his problematic daughter and her endless nonsense? What if he couldn’t love me anymore? Jail I could survive; losing my father for good, well, it would be the end of me.

                Without thinking I jumped to my feet, which had the chains on both my hands and my legs rattling loudly, and two uniformed officers hurried into the room. I was about to make maybe the worst decision to date but I couldn’t stop the words from sliding off my tongue.

                “Don’t call my dad!” Recklessness, thy name was Avett Walker.

                The attorney turned around and looked at me like I had grown a second head. He didn’t say anything as the officers moved to either side of me and told me to calm down.

                “You can’t call my dad.” The words sounded as panicked and as desperate as I felt on the inside.

                His broad shoulders lifted and fell in a shrug like he really couldn’t give a shit that he was about to ruin my life…which was saying a hell of a lot considering where I was.

                “I have to.” He sounded bored and impatient with my outburst.

                I narrowed my eyes at him, and that vortex of awful, which I always seemed to be smack dab in the center of, started to spin faster and faster around me.

                “Then you’re fired.” I saw the cops exchange a look and my rushed words had the blond man turning fully back around to look at me. “I don’t want your help. I don’t want anything from you.”

                Finally, there was something other than indifference in his gaze. There was surprise, maybe a hint of admiration colliding with a huge splash of humor in the pale depths.

                “Sorry, Ms. Walker, but you didn’t hire me, so that means you don’t get to fire me.” That grin of his, which should be registered as a deadly weapon, flashed across his face again as he watched me, and then he was gone.

 

Amazon ** iBooks ** Barnes & Noble ** Kobo

About CHARGED:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the second installment in the Saints of Denver series featuring a bad girl and a by the book attorney who could be her salvation…or her ruin.

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

 

CHARGED - Tour Teaser 1

 

 

And don’t miss the first titles in The Saints of Denver Series!

 

LEVELED - cover

LEVELED

 

Studio portrait of young bearded man --- Image by © pinkypills/Corbis

BUILT

 

 

Jay Crownover - author picAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denverseries. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

CHARGED Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Audio Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Grey

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

Audio Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia GreyTen Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Firebird, Book 2
Also in this series: A Thousand Pieces of You
Published by Harper Audio on 03 November 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, People & Places, Road Trip, Romance, Social Issues, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: A Thousand Pieces of You

Place(s) Traveled To:
Rome, Italy (Medieval-verse)
San Francisco, California (Triad-Verse // War-Verse)
Berkeley, California (Our Universe // War-Verse)
Paris, France (Russia-Verse)
New York, New York (Mob Verse)
Unnamed (Home Office Verse)

First Line(s): The first time I traveled to another dimension, I intended to take a life. Now I’m trying to save one.

Second books in a trilogy can be a mixed bag. Sometimes they are really really good and sometimes you wonder why the series wasn’t a duology instead. THE THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU by Claudia Gray falls somewhere in the middle of these two reactions. On one hand, there is a lot of new information and a series of events that keep you on the edge of your seat. On the other it felt a little drawn out and there was no real explaination for why things started as they did. While A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (my review) can be considered a stand alone, TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU is not. It ends in a crazy cliff hanger and while I want to know what happens I’m also on the fence about it.

Which is a shame because A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was such a surprise that had me eagerly anticipating this book. Perhaps I was looking forward to it too much and so I fell victim to my own hype. It didn’t help that TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU was very repetitive and it even seemed to contradict itself at times. One moment they are saying that their alters don’t remember what happens when they are “possessed” (for lack of a better term) and then they next they do retain memories of the experience. You can’t have it both ways, either they remember or they don’t. Pick one and run with it.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You Quote

It also didn’t help that Marguerite was way more annoying in this book than she was in the first one. She seemed to regress a lot and I was glad for Theo as he saved many a scene. But then at the same time I was conflicted because of the events that happened in the first book and with some that happened in this one. Things came close to becoming love triangly and that just didn’t sit well with me. Fortunately though, Marguerite stays true to Paul throughout though it makes me sad that we didn’t get to see much of this character in Triad-verse self. But I do like how Marguerite learns to accept all the possibilities of Paul and to me that is a very big and important step.

Tavia Gilbert returns to narrate the story and as with A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU I was very pleased with the narration. She is great with all the various accents and her voice really helps make the story compelling. I’m glad that I continued this one via audio because I may have tossed the book across the room a time or two if it wasn’t on my phone. I do have plans to read the final book, A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU (Goodreads) but as of now its not one that I plan on rushing out to read, even with the crazy cliffhanger. I want to know what happens buy I’m not crazy bouncy with excitement for it as I was with TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU. Altough I do know I’ll be buying a finished copy of book 3 as these covers are absolutely stunning!!

irishdarkblue

IR - Thousand Pieces of You

 

Add Hourglass by Myra McEntire to Goodreads.

Add Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

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

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry ThomasThe Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea
Published by Harper Audio on 13 Oct 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Royalty, Survival Stories, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea

Place(s) Traveled To: The Sahara Desert // Delamer, The Domain // Atlantis

First Line(s): Somewhere in the most immense desert on earth, a thousand miles south of the Mediterranean Sea and just as far west of the Red Sea, rose a line of sheer sandstone cliffs.

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is the third (and final) book in Sherry Thomas’s Elemental Trilogy and as such I was terrified to read it. I had an ARC of it long before it was published but I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up because once I turned that last page then it was be over. I would have to leave this world and these characters and while I can always re-read the series its just not as special as that first time. Those moments that make your heart pound because you know that your favorite characters may not live to see the end of the story. But in the end, the lure of Titus and Iolanthe was was strong and my love of the audio version was too strong for me to stay away.

As always, Philip Battley does an amazing job bringing all of these characters to life. You would think that its an odd choice to have a predominately female POV story narrated by a male actor but it really works for this series. Battley becomes all of these characters and I hear his voice in my head when I pick up the print version of these books. Battley’s voice combined with Thomas’s words make for an enthralling story and I always hated when I got to my destination and had to stop listening. This is definitely one of those series where I recommend the audio over the print because the narration is just so good.

Immortal Heights Quote

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is not a perfect book there where times I rolled my eyes and wanted to shake some of the characters for the things that they did. They could be annoying and frustrating and I just wanted to wrap them up in a cocoon of protectiveness and prevent them from coming to harm. The ending was also a bit anti-climatic based on all that came before but its also one that worked for the story. I also didn’t hate the epilogue which, as regular readers know, isn’t something that happens often.

I loved this whole series and I am so sad to see it come to an end. The random head jumping and the action of some of the characters could be frustrating at times but I loved them in spite of all their flaws. I loved the prose of this book and how the words just flowed over me. Its an addicting story that made me laugh, made me cringe, and made my heart ache. Its a must read for any fantasy lover and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

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four-stars
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: Last First Kiss by Lia Riley

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Last First Kiss by Lia RileyLast First Kiss by Lia Riley
Series: Brightwater,
Published by Avon on 23 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Brightwater, California

First Line(s): Dear readers, There were so many sweet by worried comments following my divorce announcement.

LAST FIRST KISS by Lia Riley is the first book in a new series that is set in the small town of Brightwater, California. This book involves Annie Carson who has returned home for the first time since high school graduation to heal from her divorce and to prepare the family farm for sale. While home she meets back up with Sawyer, who is her neighbor, her first love, and also her family’s enemy. The two families have been feuding since before most people can remember and so that doesn’t make things easy for this Romeo and Juliet couple. Especially since Sawyer is a big part of why Annie left home in the first place.

When Annie lived in Brightwater she was a bit of a wild child and often the source of town gossip but over the years she’s grown up, married, had a child, and started a popular mommy’s blog to chronicle her perfect life. Only her life isn’t perfect and she’s struggling to keep it all together. She most definitely doesn’t need the added complication of Sawyer coming back into her life and she struggles with him wanting to start fresh.

Last First Kiss Quote

I liked the chemistry between Sawyer and Annie and I adored how Sawyer interacted with Annie’s son. I often don’t like kids in books and LAST FIRST KISS wasn’t an exception to this but it could have been worse. I did think that LAST FIRST KISS was a bit more awkward than it should have been. The dialogue scenes were a bit cringe worthy at times and it didn’t feel like real people were talking.

In terms of steaminess, LAST FIRST KISS is a bit cool and vanilla and there was a crazy escalation to the HEA which ended up being overly cutesy for my tastes. I also thought that all the blog entries were a distraction and I could have done without them. I think by the end of the book I started to skip them all together. Overall, LAST FIRST KISS was just a meh read for me and while I’ll probably read the other books in the series I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to do so.

irishdarkblue

IR - Last First Kiss

 

Add Catching Cameron by Julie Brannagh to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: Fire and Thorns,
Published by Harper Audio on 24 July 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Amalur, Orovalle // Brisadulce, Joya D’Arena // Basajuan, Joya D’Arena // Rebel Camp, Joya D’Arena // Great Desert, Joya D’Arena // Oasis, Joya D’Arena

First Line(s): Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson first came to my attention back in 2011 when I received an ARC of it. At the time it sounded interesting but I wasn’t sure it was for me so I put it on my shelf as a maybe someday read. Time passed and I never really forgot about the book as so many people kept recommending it to me. Telling me I had to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS as it was so so good and as a lover of fantasy I needed to experience the story. So after many attempts I finally did. And I wish I hadn’t. I just had so very many issues with this book that I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to capture them fully here.

First, my biggest issues with THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS was all the body shamming that occurred. Elisa was contantly told she was fat and as a result wasn’t pretty and would be useless if she didn’t carry the godstone. Not only were the outside comments terrible but her own internal ones were worse. She was so self-depreciating that it made me cringe. Then, she gets kidnapped and loses all her excess weight and all of a sudden is smart and beautiful and everyone flocks to her. She has value and is fierce and no….just no!!! Before she lost weight she’s considered to be naive and after she is this smart warlord who is a great leader. And I just hated how all of Elisa’s character growth came because she lost the weight not not because of who she was. And even though she does become skinny, Elisa maintains a very low self-esteem and low body image of herself and she never really grows or changes in that perspective.

Girl of Fire and Thorns Quote

The other part of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that drove me batty was all the talk about food and religion. If Elisa wasn’t thinking about food then she was either eating food or yearning for food. And if none of those were happening than she or others were talking about food. The few times when food wasn’t the main topic things moved to religion. So much religious talk. I get that religion was a big deal in this world but it was forced down a readers throat at every turn of the page. There are ways to be a religious and spiritual story with out forcing it and this would have been a grand lesson for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS to learn.

The whole plot was pretty non-existant and the writing tended to make my eye twitch. I swear the word grin was horribly overused along with smile and every variation that you can think of of those words. They would be used several times on the page and even a time or two in the same sentence. For a kidnapped naive princess turn warlord general trying to stop an invasion there was an awful lot of grinning. You’d think there would be more suspense involved but there never was. But in the end there wasn’t a whole ton that happened and what did occurred mostly off the page.

And finally, I was promised a great romance. But there really was none. Elisa was married at the start of the book and then her marriage was kept secret from her husband who kept a mistress. Elisa then started to fall for one of the rebels but that didn’t progress far and ended badly. When I started to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS I had lots of people make comments to me about a character named Hector and how swoon worthy he was. But he was barely in the book at all. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is a book that I felt I wasted my time reading. It just annoyed me from start to finish and I’m going to have to think long and hard before I decide if I should continue on with this series or not.

Read my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did

Two Chicks on Books – “I really loved the characters she created Elisa is weak at first but she learns quickly and finds her inner strength. The king is likable enough and I absolutely loved his guard Hector (more of him in book 2 please Rae). The rest of the characters each have strong personalities and I can tell you some you will fall in love with and some you will detest from the moment you meet them.”

Book Smugglers – [Elisa]’s not a perfect heroine or a Mary Sue, for all that she’s God’s Chosen, but she finds a way to take on the innumerable challenges thrown in her path with a kind of calm grace and growing sense of confidence and self-respect.

Tripping Over Books – “I have to also take a minute to say that THINGS happen in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that almost never happen in YA books. I’ll tell you this: as an avid reader of ADULT fantasy, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the twists. They still hurt like burning, but in a devastatingly good way, and I give Rae Carson incredible props for going there. TWICE.”

 

IR - Girl of Fire and Thorns

Special thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books for today’s recommendation suggestions!!

Add Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s thoughts / Click here for my review)

Add Defy by Sara B. Larson to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s review)

two-stars
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Review

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

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

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

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

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

irishdarkblue

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

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

Excerpt

 

“It is a shame,” Chris says.

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

                “All I’m saying is –“

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

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

                “The restaurant is sexy?”

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

                “I had no idea.”

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

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

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

                I stare at her, blinking.

                “So?”

                “So you should go apply!”

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

                “Fuck no.”

                “Why not?”

                “Jake Knox doesn’t perform anymore.”

                “Jake Keller could.”

                I tilt my head, suddenly intrigued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Missing Dixie by Casey Quinn

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

Review: Missing Dixie by Casey QuinnMissing Dixie by Casey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams,
Also in this series: Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas
Published by William Morrow on 27 October 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Leaving Amarillo, Loving Dallas

Place(s) Traveled To: Amarillo, Texas

First Line(s): “I need a Michelob light, two jack and cokes, a bourbon on the rocks, and a Sex on the Beach,” a waitress named Kimberly calls to me over the crowded bar.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I continued this series all the way to its bitter end. Perhaps because my copy of MISSING DIXIE was a review book because I’m not entire sure that I cared if she and Gavin ever found their Happily Ever After. Especially when I stop and really think about this book and realize that if the two of them just talked to each on page one then the entire 300 page story could have been avoided. Now remember kids, this is 300 pages on top of a whole other book so don’t go picking this one up thinking its a standalone. You really need to read the first half of the story, LEAVING AMARILLO (my review), to get the full scope of what the heck is going on and just how frustrating these two characters are.

There really isn’t much that happens in MISSING DIXIE that couldn’t have happened in LEAVING AMARILLO. Sure some editing would have come into play but there would have been a more cohesive story that didn’t feel like it was overly drawn out. Because seriously, how often can two people angst about not being with the other person and mope about as they refuse to talk to each other. I did like Dixie a little better in this book, she was less of a doormat but still allowed herself to be emotionally manipulated more often than not by those around her. Especially Gavin who would need her desperately one moment then refuse to talk to her the next saying they could never be. Oy, talk about running hot and cold!

Missing Dixie Quote

As with the previous books, there are no shades of gray in this world. Everything is either black or white and there is no compromise. So Dixie can either act as a foster mother to a needy boy or she could have a music career as there is no way for a musician to ever possibly be a parent. *insert eyeroll here* The whole story line with Liam left me feeling a bit cold and disconnected because it just didn’t fit in the context of this book and the story of Gavin and Dixie. It was just one more thing that was put in MISSING DIXIE to draw out this story when everything should have been resolved in LEAVING AMARILLO.

I also felt that the ending of MISSING DIXIE was rushed and tied up a little too neatly. After how slow the story was getting up to that point it was all wham bam thank you ma’am this book is done. If the pacing was better than maybe I would have liked MISSING DIXIE more than I did. It wasn’t terrible but its not a book that I’ll be rushing to recommend to folks either. Though at least in MISSING DIXIE, Casey Quinn did add in Gavin’s POV to help offset the angst of Dixie. Not that Gavin didn’t have angst of his own but it was nice to see things through his eyes. It made things a little more clear when you got both sides of the story. Overall, not bad but not totally great either.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Leaving Amarillo

Add Make it Count by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All Lined Up by Cora Carmack to Goodreads. (Click here for my reivew.)

three-stars
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