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Source: Purchased

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review: Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

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

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

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

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

dance-with-me-quote

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

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

irishdarkblue

ir-dance-with-me

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

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

three-stars
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel MirandaHamilton: The Revolution by Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Narrator: Mariska Hargitay
Published by Grand Central Publishing on 12 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Non-Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Dear Reader

It may come as a shock for you to learn that I am a fan of the musical Hamilton. If it doesn’t….then you know me well and if you like Hamilton too then we can be besties! Anywho, when I heard about the Hamiltome I knew that I had to have it and when I was given an opportunity to review to audio I had to take that too. Because there really can’t be too much Hamilton in ones life. My only regret was that I didn’t have access to either prior to seeing the musical because reading this behind the scenes tale really ups the emotional punch of an already emotional story. I loved this behind the scenes look at the creation of this epic musical and getting a sneak peak at some of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s thoughts when it came to particular lyrics.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION is definitely a book that you’ll want to have if you are a fan of the musical. Its beautifully bound and the pictures just really add to the story vignettes that comprise each chapter. These stories and histories of the musicals creation are enhanced even further as they are often followed by the musicals libretto. This is where the audio suffers and you loose something when all you do is listen. I loved Mariska Hargitay’s narration but all she did was read the chapter text and all of Miranda’s notes are lumped together on a single disc. Without the context of the books layout I think it really hampers ones enjoyment of the audio. So I found myself listening to the audio in the car and then coming home to look at the sections and pictures that the audio skips over.

Overall, though I really enjoyed HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION and if you are a fan of the musical then you will enjoy it as well. This is a great book to give those who haven’t (or can’t) see the musical to get an up close and personal look at some of the staging and costumes. I loved reliving the show by looking at all these visuals and I loved the songs all the more when I knew more about Miranda’s thought process in how they were developed. I’m not gonna lie HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION totally had me tearing up at times and at the end of the book I breathed such a sigh of contentment. Reading this book was such an amazing journey and I’m so very glad that Miranda and company took the time to put it together to release into the world. I love the musical even more now and can’t wait until such times as I can see it again.

irishdarkblue

Click here to read my review of Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Click here to check out the Hamilton Book Tag.

five-stars
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Friday, July 1, 2016

Review: Deeper by Robin York

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

Review: Deeper by Robin YorkDeeper by Robin York
Series: Caroline & West,
Published by Bantam on 28 January 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Putnam, Iowa // Ankeny, Iowa

First Line(s): Sometimes I hate the girl I was back then.

 

DEEPER by Robin York is a book that came to me highly recommended by a few different people. But once I saw there was no HEA and that the story continued in another book I was a bit hesitant to try it. I like my romance stories to be contained in one book and I most definitely like there to be a HEA. While I found DEEPER to be a quick read it hasn’t been a very memorable one. And my one Goodreads note, at 68%, declares West to be an asshole. This, ladies and gentleman, is the love interest. If he’s not a super likable character at 68% then how am I to be invested that he and his lady love, Caroline, are meant to be?? Caroline and West are your typical New Adult trope characters. She’s the goody goody rich girl that everyone loves and he’s the ultimate bad boy that she’s warned to stay away from. But there are sparks the moment they meet and while they don’t speak for years they both secretly lust after each other.

Then when Caroline’s super perfect (on paper at least) boyfriend, the golden boy of her high school and the guy her daddy adores doesn’t like that she broke up with him he lashes out. He posts intimate pictures of Caroline and posts her personal information (address, email, phone, etc) on-line like the true dickhead he is all while pretending it wasn’t him and that he’s shocked and upset and they should totally get back together. Everyone on campus of course can’t see that he did something wrong and she’s slut shamed and harassed on every level. Renege porn is a real and terrifying thing and I think that York handled that aspect of the story well. But I hated how everyone blamed Caroline for it, even her own father, and of course only West saw the crime of it which brings the two closer together.

Deeper Quote

Then things happen, there is drama and angst and all the new adult book cliches that you would expect. DEEPER is filled with ALL THE TROPES and then to go through all of that and not get a HEA?? Ugh. No. Not a fan. There is also nothing truly memorable about this book. Before starting my review I had to go and read reviews written by others on Goodreads because I was drawing such a blank as to what happened in this story. The only thing I really remembered was the whole revenge porn aspect. Other than that this story did not stick. Which, for me, is never a good sign for a book because me plot recall is usually pretty good. As such I’m not sure that I’ll read the sequel, HARDER (seriously NA please come up with better titles!!! You do your genre a disservice.)

I think that I just expected more from DEEPER because of all the hype and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. For a story that spans two books I wanted to be wowed and filled with an eager expectation to see what happened next. But in all honesty I really don’t care if Caroline and West ever find their HEA. I’m not invested in them enough as a couple for that. And despite being told over and over I’m just not sure that I believe in their romance. Yes, they lust after each other but as people I’m not sure just how well they mesh or believe that they’ll work in the long term. There were parts of DEEPER that were good but they just weren’t enough so in the end I was just meh on this one.

irishdarkblue

IR - Deeper

 

Add Revenge Bound by Heidi Joy Tretheway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All the Rage by Courtney Summers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Me Before You by Jojo MoyesMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You,
Published by Viking Adult on 31 December 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 481
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Stortfold, England // Mauritius // Zurich, Switzerland (2007, 2009)

First Line(s): There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.

ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes is one of those books that I’d heard about but didn’t give much thought about until I saw previews for the movie version of it. I was intrigued by the previews and like many readers I decided to read the book before trying to see it. While I liked ME BEFORE YOU and found it to be a quick and emotional read the more I thought about it the more complex I felt about it. At first read, I really liked this book and the journey that Lou Clark takes in living the life that she was always meant to live. At the start of ME BEFORE YOU, Lou is stuck working dead end jobs in a small town in order to support her family. She’s shy and unassuming and completely miserable. It also doesn’t help that her family is absolutely retched to her.

Then Lou meets Will and her life changes in ways that she never thought possible. Will is a quadriplegic and is suffering from severe depression as he used to lead a very adventurous life.  When Lou first starts to work as a companion to Will their relationship is very strained but I loved watching them bother get to know each other and to grow and change from that interaction. But most of all I loved who Lou became through her association with Will. She grew into herself and became more confident and self assured and that is a message that I loved in ME BEFORE YOU. That its ok to be who you are. That you should live each day to its fullest and to always try to find wonder and adventure in even the smallest of things.

Me Before You Quote

But where ME BEFORE YOU leaves me feeling less that good is with the ending. Oh how I didn’t like how things went the way they did and it wasn’t an ending I was expecting. Well, I knew the what I just didn’t know the how and its the how that I didn’t care for. That is a message that we see all to often in books and media and its one that doesn’t paint the best of pictures. It was an easy out and one that definitely involved emotions but I don’t think that it was the right choice. There is more that I want to say on this but its hard without spoiling (well, any more than I’ve probably done) and its hard to find the right words for my thoughts.

I also didn’t like the random POV changes to Lou’s sister which only made me dislike Lou’s family more. I really wish that the entire story was told from Lou’s perspective and I wish that the ending had been a little different. If so, then I think that ME BEFORE YOU would have been a book that I was completely and utterly over the moon about. Instead I liked it, I’ll probably recommend it to some, but its not a book that I long to be able to read against for the first time. I am also on the fence on if I want to read the sequel, AFTER YOU. Its a book that has come up in my library queue but I keep tossing back and then putting back on my holds list.

I liked where Lou was at the end of ME BEFORE YOU despite all the heartbreak that she had gone through. In terms of how Lou thought about herself she was in a very good place. She was hopeful and ready to live the life she’d always dreamed about. I’m afraid that if I read AFTER YOU that will changed. Books need conflict in order to move forward after all so Lou can’t be happy in the way that I want her to be. So I may not read it. I may just keep Lou in that place where she is in my mind and continue her story in my own way.

irishdarkblue

IR - Me Before You

Add God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo to Goodreads.

Add P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

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

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy,
Also in this series: The Revolution of Ivy
Published by Entangled Teen on 04 Nov 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Family, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 282
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Revolution of Ivy

Place(s) Traveled To: Westfall, Unknown

First Line(s): No one wears white wedding dresses anymore.

THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel is one of those books that I hadn’t heard much about until I recieved an ARC of its sequel THE REVOLUTION OF IVY (goodreads). It was also around that time that talk about BOOK OF IVY started to appear in my social media streams and while I haven’t been much into dystopian reads of late I decided to give this one a chance. Like most YA dystopians THE BOOK OF IVY is very thin on details. There isn’t a whole lot of world building or history given to why the world is how it is. As a reader you are immediately thrust into the every life of this society that has formed in the bones of the former United States and its up to the reader to figure out what’s going on.

At first, I thought THE BOOK OF IVY was going to be a standard ‘girls are only good for making babies’ sort of story which is all too common a theme in YA dystopia and so I was hesitant on the story. But then there was just something about this one that really lulled me into its pages. Amy Engel’s writing is seductive even as it doesn’t have a ton of substance behind the words. I found myself engrossed in Ivy’s story and found this book really hard to put down. I liked her struggle between what she had been raised to do and what she wanted to do. And most of all I liked Bishop.

Book of Ivy Quote

Bishop is one of those book boyfriends that I’m surprised I don’t hear much about. He’s smart and funny and he appreciates Ivy for who she is. He doesn’t have lofty expectations of her nor does he expect her to be a simpering housewife with him the general of the household. He’s sweet and caring and the sort of character that you really wish you could meet in real life. He’s the bright light in an otherwise cliched and fairly typical YA dystopian novel.

THE BOOK OF IVY is what I’d call a brain candy read and would be perfect for a day at the beach. It doesn’t take a lot of thought and makes for a good distraction. Its a really fast read with a likable main character even though it does lack for a bit of a plot. As I said the writing is seductive so while you are reading the story its easy to forgive its flaws and just get lost in the nuances and flow of the words. THE BOOK OF IVY is one that I think would be great on audio with the right narrator as it really is a lyrical story. I was invested enough in Ivy’s story to read the sequel but its not a series that will win any awards. If you like YA dystopian then you’ll probably enjoy THE BOOK OF IVY. I also think those new to dystopia will enjoy it as well.

irishdarkblue

IR - Book of Ivy

 

Add Matched by Ally Condie to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino HassellStrong Signal by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove,
Also in this series: Fast Connection
Published by Self-Published on 15 Feb 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 235
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me, Make it Count, Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, Afghanistan // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // Rickston, Pennsylvania // Peoria, Illinois

First Line(s): There’s only one thief in the Army, and everyone else is just trying to get their shit back.

Recently I’ve been on a contemporary romance kick, especially contemporary MM romance, and also blitzing through most of Megan Erickson’s catalog of works. So I was very excited to see that she co-wrote STRONG SIGNAL an MM romance with Santino Hassell. I pre-ordered this baby as soon as I was able and began to read it the moment it was available. I had initially intended to alternate between STRONG SIGNAL and other read but once I started this book I couldn’t put it down and was up late as I couldn’t stop reading. I just loved the story of Kai and Garrett and thought that they had some amazing chemistry. I loved how their story developed and how they really got to know each other by talking on line. I adored their meet cute and well just everything about them!

I liked how accepting that Kai and Garrett were of each other and of their issues. On one hand, I do think that Garrett enabled Kai a bit too much but on the other it was really nice to see that Garrett never tried to cure Kai of his agoraphobia. Garrett accepted him for who he was and would have made things work as he knew that any changes made had to come from Kai in order for their to be any success. I loved how these two characters really supported one another and how they both became better people for the meeting. And oh how they both made my heart ache!!!

Strong Signal Quote

I loved how Kai and Garrett really talked to each other and oh how their separation slayed me!! No pointless breakups here just the realities of life that are sometimes hard to overcome. STRONG SIGNAL is as real as it gets for a book that still remains on the page. I know there are times when I don’t like too much reality in my books, especially the romances, but it worked so well in STRONG SIGNAL and I really wouldn’t change much at all about this story. Well, other than the need for the two leads to have to separate in the first place but that is all part of the romance formula so its needed. Plus, its sometimes takes a parting for characters to really know just how much the other person means to them.

STRONG SIGNAL was well plotted and well written and I am looking forward to the next book in the series, FAST CONNECTION (Goodreads), which will be out later this year. FAST CONNECTION will involve, Dominic Costigan, who we meet here in STRONG SIGNAL and its his character that may have annoyed me the most in this book. He was just mentioned and used way too much. While I’m curious on his story, Costigan was just too much of a distraction in STRONG SIGNAL and wish he’d been edited down a bit more. But other than that I did adore STRONG SIGNAL. Its a fresh, fun, heart achy story that I think will appeal to many a romance reader. Just be warned…you may needed a lot of coffee the day after starting this one as it really is hard to put down.

irishdarkblue

IR - Strong Signal

Add There You Stand by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan to Goodreads. (Review Coming Soon.)

four-stars
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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Full Domain by Kindle Alexander

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Full Domain by Kindle AlexanderFull Domain by Kindle Alexander
Series: Nice Guys,
Also in this series: Double Full, Full Disclosure
Published by Self-Published on 12 January 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Police or Firemen, Social Issues
Pages: 434
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Double Full, Full Disclosure

Place(s) Traveled To: Atlanta, Georgia // Washington DC // Midlothian, Texas // Dallas, Texas // Kauai, Hawaii // San Antonio, Texas

First Line(s): “Man, this is turning into one suck-ass day,” Aaron mumbled quietly to no one in particular as he edged his way through the overcrowded and lengthy terminals of the Atlanta International Airport.

What’s a girl to do when she’s invested herself in a trilogy and book three comes out just as you finish book two? Well, you buy that book and immediately start reading it of course! Who cares about all the other books you have to read when there is a mystery resolution that needs to be had! Such is the case with me and FULL DOMAIN by Kindle Alexander. It is also FULL DOMAIN that had me looking into reading the previous books in this series as well so I just *had* to read it. I really enjoyed meeting Kreed and Aaron in the previous book, FULL DISCLOSURE (my review), and was looking forward to how their story would play out.

While I didn’t like FULL DOMAIN as much as I liked FULL DISCLOSURE I still enjoyed this one a lot. I did think that the overall mystery of the series wrapped up a little fast and was a little anti-climatic considering that it took three books to get here. This made the ending drag a bit as it was wrapping up Kreed and Aaron’s story there was no tension or drama that I’d come to expect from this series. I also wasn’t a fan of the Mitch POV chapters. I get that Kindle Alexander loves this character but there was no need to have POV chapters in this book just as there was no need to have his POV in DOUBLE FULL (my review). I adored Mitch, I did, but this wasn’t his story so it was more of a distraction than anything else because all I wanted was more Kreed and Aaraon.

Full Domain Quote

I did really enjoy the characters of Kreed and Aaron though wish there was some sort of explanation of Kreed’s name origin. Especially since his brother had such a normal one but even with the odd name of Kreed it really did fit his character. I also thought that Kreed and Aaron fit well together too even though they were total opposites. They meshed well together as a couple and I loved their push and pull as they worked through their feelings. These boys had some serious chemistry and I just loved their journey to a HEA. But if I am totally honest then I should admit that of the three couples in this series, Mitch and Cody, are my favorites.

FULL DOMAIN was a fun read for me and one that I don’t regret ignoring my other books to get to. I know if I’d tried to read something else before this than that book would have suffered. This series started off rocky but once it found its stride I was totally hooked! FULL DISCLOSURE and FULL DOMAIN both left me wanting more of this world and these characters so I liked the authors note at the end that we would be seeing more of them in future books. I love when an author uses the same universe for their stories and allow cameos to happen. FULL DOMAIN isn’t perfect but it was just what I needed at the time and I can see myself re-reading it in the future. Its a good romance and one that I think you will enjoy if your tastes in any way line up with mine.

irishdarkblue IR - Full Domain

 

Add Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell to Goodreads (Review coming soon, See my Instagram snapshot thoughts here)

Add Status Update by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: Loving Dallas by Casey Quinn

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

Review: Loving Dallas by Casey QuinnLoving Dallas by Casey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams, Book 2
Also in this series: Leaving Amarillo, Missing Dixie
Published by William Morrow on 16 June 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 296
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Leaving Amarillo, Missing Dixie

Place(s) Traveled To: Omaha, Nebraska // Atlanta, Georgia // Denver, Colorado // Kansas City, Kansas // Los Angeles, California // Greenville, North Carolina // Charlotte, North Carolina // New Orleans, Louisiana // Dallas, Texas // Nashville, Tennessee // Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

First Line(s): Thirty-six cities blurred by me so quickly I felt like I’d been on a six-week drinking binge.

If I could describe LOVING DALLAS by Casey Quinn in one word I’d say it was predictable. If I had two then it would be predictable and frustrating for LOVING DALLAS was filled with ALL THE CLICHES!!! And they just made my head hurt. On its surface LOVING DALLAS seems like it had everything I’d love in a book for it was a rock star romance and it was also a second chance at love story. But, oh my stars, were these two leads so super frustrating! I knew Dallas was going to be a chore going in just based on how he was in LEAVING AMARILLO (my review) and while I liked him better in this book I still didn’t fall head over heels for him. I also was way way more annoyed with Robyn so any flaws he had kind of paled in comparison.

Where LOVING DALLAS excels over LEAVING AMARILLO is in how it is a dual POV story. I don’t think I would have finished this one if it had been told entirely from Robyn’s POV. She was so quick to make judgement and assumptions and was often the one causing all the drama between her and Dallas. She based a lot of what she did on his high school self as well on what she thought he would do. Even though nothing in his current persona indicated that he would act as she thought. In fact, more often than not how Robyn thought Dallas would react was the exact opposite of how he did react. And I just loved when Dallas finally called Robyn out on all of her crap.

Loving Dallas Quote

I also didn’t agree with many of Robyn’s choices in this book. Not that Dallas was perfect or gets a free pass as he had his douchy moments too. But he wasn’t working under all the same facts as Robyn had as she didn’t show him her full hand. Where Dallas often annoyed me was in his belief that he could only have part of his dream. Like he could date Robyn or be a musician. There was no shades of grey with him it was all black and white and like Robyn he made assumptions on the choices she might make and he often assumed wrong. I hated how these two didn’t seem to know the word compromise and that there was a way for them both to live their dreams and still be together.

As you can imagine, LOVING DALLAS had a lot of unnecessary drama and even a WTF moment (or two) but overall I did like it better than its predecessor. As much as the story and characters annoyed me at times it was still a highly readable book and I read it in about a day. Granted I was also vacationing in Greece at the time so that definitely aided in the amount of free time I had to read. LOVING DALLAS will never be a favorite book of mine but I don’t feel as though my time was wasted for the read of it. And I can see how it will appeal to many who aren’t as tough on books as I am and who don’t mind all that angst. Because there was a lot of angst. Though there could have been more so there is that. At the end of the day only you can decide if LOVING DALLAS is right for you or not and I think that you should give it a go if you have a few hours to give to this story.

irishdarkblue

IR - Loving Dallas

Add Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Tretheway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Rowdy by Jay Crownover to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Full Disclosure by Kindle Alexander

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Full Disclosure by Kindle AlexanderFull Disclosure by Kindle Alexander
Series: Nice Guys, Book 2
Also in this series: Double Full, Full Domain
Published by Self-Published on 16 September 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Police or Firemen, Social Issues, Suspense
Pages: 350
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Double Full, Full Domain

Place(s) Traveled To: Pineville, Louisiana // Austin, Texas // Waco, Texas // Dallas, Texas // Buda, Texas // Washington, DC

First Line(s): The recline of Mitch Knox’s oversized leather chair fit him perfectly.

After the disappointment that was DOUBLE FULL (my review) I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the second book in Kindle Alexander’s Nice Guys series, FULL DISCLOSURE. But my need to know who was behind the nefarious acts in DOUBLE FULL propelled me into picking up this book. Plus, it didn’t hurt that FULL DISCLOSURE was available to borrow from my library’s digital catalog. I walked into FULL DISCLOSURE with low expectations and by the end I was head over heels in love that I was buying a digital copy of the book so I could have it for keeps.

FULL DISCLOSURE picks up not long after DOUBLE FULL ends, Mitch is still on the case but things aren’t progressing as fast or as easily as he would like. Then things happen that escalates matters just as he meets Cody who is a Texas State Trooper to his US Marshall. There are sparks between these two instantly but there is always some cautiousness as well. As Cody, while out, isn’t as open and out as Mitch is. Then of course there is the drama of the case that adds in distance and a little strife into their budding relationship.

Full Disclosure Quote

For me, there was such a world of difference between DOUBLE FULL and FULL DISCLOSURE. I just liked everything about this book so much more. The characters, the plot, the writing…where all just so much better than in the first book. FULL DISCLOSURE totally made my heart ache as I read Mitch and Cody’s story. I just loved the journey this book took them on and felt that they had so much chemistry. I also enjoyed the secondary characters in this book, Kreed and Aaron, as they both really stood out in FULL DISCLOSURE but they never took away from Cody or Mitch’s story.

While I did devour FULL DISCLOSURE I also thought that things were a little rushed at the end. There was a quick escalation of events that didn’t really seem to fit in with the story as a whole. But overall, I couldn’t get enough of this book and was glad that I was on a mini vacation so that I had plenty of time to just sit and read its words. This was a fast paced read and I’m so glad that I decided to pick it up after the disappointment I felt in the first book. Its gems like that that will have me keep trying a series even if the first book doesn’t meet my expectations as you never know how things might progress with just a little time. So definitely give this one a shot if you a looking for a hot, sexy read with a wee bit of cross country action and mystery thrown in for fun!

irishdarkblue

IR - Full Disclosure

Add Status Update by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: Leaving Amarillo by Casey Quinn

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

Review: Leaving Amarillo by Casey QuinnLeaving Amarillo by Casey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams,
Also in this series: Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie
Published by William Morrow on 17 March 2015
Genres: Dating & Sex, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Loving Dallas, Missing Dixie

Place(s) Traveled To: Austin, Texas // Amaillo, Texas

First Line(s): It’s time like this, times when I’m on, giving it my all as my bow dances across the strings like it has a mind of its own, that I feel like I can fly.

If I’d known going into LEAVING AMARILLO by Casey Quinn that it wasn’t the full story than I may not have picked up this book. I’m not a huge fan of serializations and while this isn’t quite a serialized story its not your typical contemporary romance either. For me, I like my contemporary romances to end with an HEA and to be contained in one volume. When you have a 352 page story you shouldn’t need another 300 pages in order to finish it properly. That just leaves way too much time for angst and unnecessary drama. And y’all know how much I dislike my unnecessary drama. If there is a real and logical reason I can get behind it but I am so not a fan of the pointless breakup.

In LEAVING AMARILLO there is much angst and drama and I have many a comment in my kindle that simply reads as WTF. Dixie starts off as this strong heroine but by the end she was a total Mary Sue that just let everyone walk all over her. Ok, there were inklings of this in the beginning with how overbearing her brother Dallas was but at least she attempted to stick up for herself in those times. She also went after what she wanted, or rather who she wanted when she made the decision to go after Gavin after lusting after him for years. What’s frustrating with this book is that there is no logical reason for these two to be apart other than some random promise made between Gavin and Dallas when they were children. So you can imagine all the frustrated sighs that I sighed while reading LEAVING AMARILLO.

Leaving Amarillo Quote

LEAVING AMARILLO also suffers from being a single POV story. Dixie’s voice was so angsty and annoying at times and with the epilogue narrated in Gavin’s POV it just really highlights how much could have been added if the story switched between them. I may have liked both Gavin and Dixie more by the end if I’d been able to experience this story from both of their viewpoints. With only seeing things from Dixie’s POV you get a very warped view of Gavin who tends to run very hot and cold throughout the entire book. Torn between his love of Dixie and to promises made to her brother as well.

With all the angst and drama in this story I really wanted there to be a HEA to make all the suffering worth the journey. But alas, that is not the case. LEAVING AMARILLO ends on a very unsatisfactory note and in order to see if Gavin and Dixie get their HEA is to read two more books. Ok, so one of the books, LOVING DALLAS, is Dallas’s story but its book 2 in the series and my need of reading things in order means that to get to MISSING DIXIE than I would have to read that one. Not to mention that since the story is a continuation there could be things that happen between Gavin and Dixie in LOVING DALLAS that would be missed if that story was skipped. All in all, LEAVING AMARILLO was a book that didn’t leave me with the warm fuzzies. It was a fast read but it was unsatisfying and I just wanted more from that ending. Like, you know, an actual ending.

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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