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Posts Tagged: America: New York

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies (You, #2) by Caroline Kepnes
on 23 February 2016
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense
Length: 13 hrs and 3 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: You

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Los Angeles, California // Malibu, California // Palm Springs, California // Cabo San Lucas, Mexico // Las Vegas, Nevada // Reno, Nevada

First Line(s): I buy violets for Amy. Not roses. Roses are for people who did something wrong.

Joe is back!

And he’s just as crazy as ever. HIDDEN BODIES is the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’s YOU (my review) which introduces us to Joe, a total sociopath that you just can’t help but love. As a reader, you know that Joe is crazy-pants and that what he is doing is wrong and yet it all seems so logical when you read his thoughts on why he does the things that he does. In HIDDEN BODIES, Joe has moved on to a new relationship “choosing better” as he says with a girl named Amy. As with the previous women that have come into Joe’s orbit Amy is a flawed character and that seems to be what draws Joe to them. Its as if the inevitable betrayal is what drives Joe to choose these women because deep down he really wants to give into his baser instincts of murder.

In HIDDEN BODIES, Amy does a thing that as a reader just makes you gasp as we know what Joe is capable of when he is betrayed. Amy does not. Which makes you feel for Amy but yet at the same time you are also angry at her for not living up to Joe’s expectations. Its really amazing just how much Kepnes’s writing puts the reader on Joe’s side as he’s usually the character we want the hero or heroine of the story to capture and put behind bars. But with YOU and HIDDEN BODIES all you want is for Joe to find peace and happiness. Its a strange feeling to be cheering for the bad guy and yet, how can you not?

HIDDEN BODIES is a fast paced thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Santino Fontana returns to narrate the story and he just becomes Joe. Fontana’s is a voice that is going to be hard for me to separate from this character as it just fits Joe so perfectly. Fontana’s narration style just sets the perfect mood for HIDDEN BODIES and makes it so easy to fall for Joe and to want him to come out on top. To find his place in the world and to be happy. Happiness isn’t easy for our Joe, he’s had a hard life, but by the end of HIDDEN BODIES you think that maybe things will turn out ok for him.

HIDDEN BODIES takes the reader to new places and we meet new characters. Some of whom are even worse than Joe. There are lots of ups and downs and twists and turns and where you end up is no where near where you thought you would. I fell for this story and just loved everything about it. I’m in awe of everything that Kepnes managed to do and know that I am going to want to rush out to grab her next book in hopes that its even half as good as this duology. Kepnes is a master of suspense and in defying expectations and this series is one that you must check out if you love a good mystery.

 

 

four-stars
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

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

Blog Tour Review: Say It Louder by Heidi Joy Trethway

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

 

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

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

One band. Five love stories. Too many secrets.

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

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

 About Say it Louder:

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

irishdarkblue

 

Grab your copy today:

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

 

sil-teaser-2

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Heidi Joy Tretheway:

heidi-joy-tretheway-author-photo

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

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

 

Connect with Heidi:

Contest

Enter Heidi’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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September 30th                             

Socially Awkward Book Nerd     Review

Barbara’s Book Reveiws                              Excerpt

October 1st                      

Books,Dreams,Life          Excerpt

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium                   Excerpt

Vera is Reading                Excerpt

October 2nd                    

Sassy Girl Books                             Review

A Dream Within A Dream            Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog                Review

October 3rd                     

Southern Belle Book Blog            Excerpt

Ticket to Anywhere                       Review

Reading Tigress                Review

October 4th                     

My Favorite Things         Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews        Excerpt

October 5th                     

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess           Review

Reese’s Reviews               Excerpt

Bound By Books Book Review    Review

October 6th                     

Romance Book Nerd      Excerpt

EskieMama Reads           Excerpt

October 7th                     

Collector of book boyfriends      Playlist

iScream Books Review

Captain Reads A Lot       Excerpt

Inked in Chapters            Review

October 8th                     

CReeeBookWorld            Review

Renee Entress’s Blog      Review

Author Groupies              Review

October 9th                     

A Brit and a Yank             Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club Guest Post

bookshelf dreaming       Review

Ashley Book Blog            Review

October 10th                   

The Smut-Brarians          Review

Books to Breathe             Review

Books Need TLC                              Review

October 11th                   

Adventures in Writing    Playlist

Live read and breathe    Review

Novel Addiction                              Review

October 12th                   

Alpha Book Club              Review

Red Cheeks Reads           Excerpt

Wild and Dirty Book Blog             Review

October 13th                   

G & T’s Indie Café            Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs       Review

Ramblings From This Chick         Review

The Phantom Paragrapher          Review

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf      Excerpt

 

three-stars
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina BowenRookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1) by Sarina Bowen
Series: ,
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, Him, The Fifteenth Minute, Coming in from the Cold, Us, Bittersweet, Steadfast

Place(s) Traveled To: Brooklyn, New York // Denver, Colorado // Phoenix, Arizona // Dallas, Texas

First Line(s): Cobblestone streets did not pair well with high heels.

Long time readers will know that I am a big fan of Sarina Bowen’s books and I’ve really enjoyed her Ivy Years series. With ROOKIE MOVE, not only does Bowen make the leap from self-published to traditional publishing but she also starts her very first spin off series. We first meet Leo Trevi as a secondary character in the Ivy Years books but don’t learn a ton about him until THE FIFTEENTH MINUTE (my review) when his brother’s story is told. That first sneak peak was enough to have me eager for ROOKIE MOVE which is an adult read set in the same universe as the Ivy Years books only the characters aren’t in college any more. In ROOKIE MOVE, Leo is getting ready to start his first year on a professional NFL team and he’s both excited and nervous as this is everything that he’s ever wanted. Well, except for maybe his high school love, Georgia, who just happens to be the teams PR representative. To make things even more complex, Georgia’s dad is also the new Brooklyn Bruisers coach.

To say that ROOKIE MOVE has a lot going on is an understatement and I think that there are some plot points that could have been avoided. Especially the one where Georgia’s dad was just a complete and utter fuck-tard. Seriously, there was no reason for his attitude towards Leo and he acted more like a 3 year old in the midst of a tantrum than an adult professional. I don’t know why the team’s owner put up with it nor do I understand why Leo never took things up with HR because the man was out of control. That whole story line took away from my enjoyment of this book because there was no basis for it nor was it resolved well. It was just sort there and it didn’t fit in with the story as a whole. Drama for the sake of drama and really took me out of the story.

Rookie Move Quote

The other part of ROOKIE MOVE that was a disappointment was Leo and Georgia’s relationship. It just seemed too easy and there was no angst or drama to it. The only real drama in this book came from Georgia’s dad and so the love story seemed to be a bit forgotten about. Leo and Georgia were apart throughout their college years and then they just seemed to reconnect so quickly without ever fully dealing with their issues. I also didn’t feel any real chemistry between the two and thought that Leo had better chemistry (non-romantic)/storylines with some of his teammates than he did with the love of his life.

I wanted to love ROOKIE MOVE but, for me, this one just fell short of my expectations. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series and am glad that I read the story but it was just an okay read for me, not a great one. I just needed something more in ROOKIE MOVE that never fully materialized and I hope that other books in the series will read better for me as the characters and plots will be more new. As much as I wanted to see Leo and Georgia’s reunion I am now thinking that their story may have been better told as a secondary storyline in another book.

irishdarkblue

IR - Rookie Move

Add Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson to Goodreads.

Add Fair Play by Deirdre Martin to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino HassellFast Connection by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove, Book 2
Also in this series: Strong Signal
Published by Self-Published on 11 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 260
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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, Strong Signal, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Staten Island, New York // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): The smell of bagels permeated the entire shop.

FAST CONNECTION is the second book in Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Cyberlove series and features a minor character in that book, Dominic Costigan, who I will freely admit I didn’t like all that much in STRONG SIGNAL (my review.) But I shouldn’t have doubted the Erickson/Hassell writing team because they sure did deliver on a character with a lot of heart and lovability and oh how my opinion of him changed. In fact, this time around I found myself getting annoyed with Garrett and how he treated Costigan in this story! Boy did some of those text/phone conversations just break my heart because Costigan really needed a friend and Garrett was just being an ass.

Good thing that Dominic met Luke because oh my stars did those two have chemistry!! I just loved the two of them together and it just about tore me in two when they had drama. Which then made me want to glower at Garrett some more since Dominic didn’t have someone that he could rely on. FAST CONNECTION was such a heart achy read and I had so much trouble putting it down. I loved the connection between Dominic and Luke and their story was so real and raw and just everything that I love in a romance book. And its so hard to talk about everything that I love about FAST CONNECTION because words are hard and I don’t want to spoil.

Quote from: http://meganerickson.org/

Just know that FAST CONNECTION has it all. There are likable characters, even when they do stupid stubborn shit that makes you just want to shake them. There are real storylines that make your heart hurt. There are secondary characters that flesh out this story and just add to its depths and layers. There is emotion and romance and ALL THE FEELINGS!!! So many feelings and its a book that can be read as a standalone even though its listed as part of a series. Yes, there are connections and allusions to STRONG SIGNAL but I don’t think readers will be all that lost if they haven’t read that book yet (though you should be cause its awesome) but for me FAST CONNECTION was even better because to me it just felt more real. The issues that Dominic and Luke face are ones that I can relate to more and these two don’t enable each other. Instead they tend to call each other out on their bullshit which is part of why they have drama.

FAST CONNECTION is a book that kept me up as I couldn’t put it down. I was so sucked into this story and as I’ve said in various different ways just hit all the right notes with me. There really isn’t anything that I would change in this story….well except the stupid angsty drama that tore a hole in my heart…but other than that FAST CONNECTION was a wonderful roller coaster read and one that I know I’ll be re-reading a time or two (or a dozen) in the future. I really like the Erickson/Hassell writing team and I can not wait to see what these two have in store next. Because they need to co-write more. It’ll make me a sad little blogger if they don’t they just mesh so very well together.

irishdarkblue IR - Fast Connection

 

Add Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy to Goodreads.

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: You,
Also in this series: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 30 Sept 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam.

 

My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was “what the heck did I just read?” but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn’t be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.

I know that YOU isn’t a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don’t think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren’t the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe’s eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn’t think it would be a book that I would like but after…well…after I found it hard to leave Kepne’s world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.

You Quote

If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I’ve said, he’s a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he’s in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes’s words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.

YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can’t wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven’t experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!!

irishdarkblue

IR - You

Add Stolen by Lucy Christopher to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I’ll credit you and link back to your review!

five-stars
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

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

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

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

Greetings and Salutations Internet!

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

HEAD, SCALES, TONGUE, TAIL by Leigh Bardugo

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

THE END OF LOVE by Nina LaCour

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

LAST STAND AT THE CINEGOR by Libba Bray

Place(s) Traveled: Deadwood, Texas

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

Rating: 2.5 stars

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

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

SICK PLEASURES by Francesa Lia Block

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

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

Rating: 1 star

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

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

IN NINETY MINUTES, TURN NORTH by Stephanie Perkins

Place(s) Traveled: Burnsville, North Carolina

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

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

SOUVENIRS by Tim Federle

Place(s) Traveled: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

INERTIA by Veronica Roth

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

LOVE IS THE LAST RESORT by Jon Skovron

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

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

Rating: 1 star

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

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

GOOD LUCK AND FAREWELL by Brandy Colbert

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

BRAND NEW ATTRACTION by Cassandra Clare

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

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

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, Illinois

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

Rating: 4 stars

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

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

THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS by Lev Grossman

Place(s) Traveled: Lexington, Massachusetts

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

Rating: 3 stars

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

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

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

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

OVERALL RATING: 3 stars

 

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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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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Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Pairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Pairing Off by Elizabeth HarmonPairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon
Series: Red Hot Russians,
Published by Carina Press on 02 February 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 250
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Amsterdam, Netherlands // Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada // Moscow, Russia // Lake Shosha, Russia // Lake Placid, New York // Saint Petersburg, Russia // Sweetspire, Georgia

First Line(s): They spilled out of the Mellow Yellow, loud and laughing.

I always enjoy a good sports themed romance and so was excited to stumble on PAIRING OFF by Elizabeth Harmon as it involves pairs figure skating. Growing up I’d watch figure skating competitions all the time and so was eager to get a wee glimpse into this world. Add that to the Russian setting and I thought that this was a book that I’d really love. In the end though, PAIRING OFF was just a so-so read for me and it failed to live up to my expectations. I liked the main characters, Anton and Carrie, well enough but there wasn’t a ton of spark between them. Not to mention that for a good 60% of the story Anton had a girlfriend!! Then the last 40% is them faking a relationship until its no long fake and just no no no!

Of the two leads, I liked Anton better than Carrie though he stayed in his relationship far longer than her should have since he was attracted to Carrie and didn’t seem to care for his GF all that much. Carrie on the other hand was a bit spineless and often annoying. She never defended herself when the scandal happened and just seemed to let people walk all over her. Granted when you learn of her terrible parents you can kind of understand why and she does go through some character growth just not enough.

Pairing Off Quote

I also think that these too spent too much time thinking about an event that happened seven years previously and not enough time actually talking about the now. And as I mentioned above there wasn’t a ton of chemistry between them. There wasn’t anything about their story that had me longing for them to get together. In fact, I spent much of book yelling at Carrie to grow a backbone and for Anton to break up with his toxic girlfriend. I think I only managed to finish this one because it was so short a read and I did like the ice skating part of it.

Overall though, PAIRING OFF was just a meh read for me and I am not sure if I’ll read the others in the series. Especially since the premise of book 2 seems like its the heros job to break the heroine and her fiance up…on reality tv. Um….no thank you! So while this series may not be for me I did like Harmon’s writing and do think that I’ll keep an eye on her to see what she write next. I just hope she moves away from these cheating story lines and just sticks with two characters falling in love and not have anyone potentially get hurt in the process.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Pairing Off

 

Add Playing It Close by Kat Latham to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Saving Maverick by Debra Elisa to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

three-stars
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Friday, March 11, 2016

Review: Double Full by Kindle Alexander

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

Review: Double Full by Kindle AlexanderDouble Full by Kindle Alexander
Series: Nice Guys,
Also in this series: Full Disclosure, Full Domain
Published by Self-Published on 08 October 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 275
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
two-stars
Also by this author: Full Disclosure, Full Domain

Place(s) Traveled To: Austin, Texas (2003, 2012, 2013) // New York, New York (2012) // Kauai, Hawaii (2003, 2013)

First Line(s): Jace gripped the side of the locker, his knuckles turning white as he dropped his head inside the open metal frame.

***Warning: Contains Spoilers…Read at your own risk***

I’m the sort of girl who likes to read a series in order, even if its a companion series. I like to follow a characters journey from their first introduction all the way through their HEA and if we are lucky what happens when their story ends. So when I stumbled on a book that intrigued me called FULL DOMAIN by Kindle Alexander and learned it was a series I knew I had to track down the first book DOUBLE FULL. DOUBLE FULL is a bit like two stories rolled into one. It begins in 2003 and covers much of Colt and Jace’s early years. We learn that Colt was a bit of a stalker of the openly out Jace throughout college until he makes his move at the end of their senior year. They have a quick, whirlwind relationship and fall in love though Colt is adamant to keep things on the DL. Jace is conflicted on this but loves Colt and so agrees. Then some WTFery happens and Colt abandons Jace without a word and they don’t interact again until 10 years later.

In the decade they were apart Colt has fallen into alcoholism and various other poor life choices including acquiring a conniving bitchy fiance who is find having 3-somes and 4-somes and having her future father-in-law watching kiss a girl and have sex with a man not her fiance but is not ok with pictures and newspaper articles of Jace. These she uses to blackmail Colt into doing her bidding and me to want to toss my kindle across the room. But the WTFery of DOUBLE FULL doesn’t end there. There is this random act of violence near the end that lands Colt in the hospital that turns out to be not so random and its just….Como say what now???

Double Full Quote

Seriously. This book was just now good. It was readable but I seriously thought that my eyes might roll out of my head. Colt was essentially a stalker of Jace but Jace was ok with that as Colt was just so dreamy. And even when Colt showed up without a word on his vacation doorstep Jace forgave so easily. Colt barely got out “I’m sorry I was a dick” before they were both declaring their love once again and saying that this time everything would be different. *insert many heavy sighs of frustration here* DOUBLE FULL is just over the top and full on cheese fest and even with the big mystery that it became I just couldn’t take it very seriously.

And yet, despite all that I disliked there was something addictive about this story. Not to mention that I was intrigued by the character of Mitch who we are introduced to near the end of DOUBLE FULL and who is uber important as he gets his own POV. While I didn’t like that he had his POV randomly thrust into the story I was intrigued by him. Which is why I found myself downloading FULL DISCLOSURE almost immediately after finishing DOUBLE FULL. Sure I could be in for another terrible WTF-ery read but there is always the possibility of something magical to happen.

irishdarkblue

 People Who Liked This Book Better Than I Did

Shh Mom’s Reading – “There were times during this story my heart hurt, literally ached for these men. It was amazing to me that Ms. Alexander was able to make my heart ache for both men at times during this book. The range of emotions she gets the reader to feel in this book truly speaks to what a wonderful talent Ms. Alexnader has for storytelling.”

Scandalicious Book Reviews – “Kindle Alexander does a fantastic job at creating the conflict in this story and again, it didn’t play out how I expected.  She does an excellent job of character development that will send you on a rollercoaster of emotions.  You can’t help but love Jace and Colt and suffer their heartbreak right along with them.”

Paddylast Inc – “I was also totally hooked with Mitch whom the author introduced in the latter part of the book (whom I supposed will be the main character for the second book of the series. Yay!) without actually swaying too much from Colt and Jace. What an impressive transitioning ability!”

IR - Double Full

Add Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Yours All Along by Roni Loren to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

two-stars
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: The Baller by Vi Keeland

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Baller by Vi KeelandThe Baller by Vi Keeland
Series: Down and Dirty Football,
Published by Self-Published on 18 January 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Unknown, Texas // Tampa, Florida // Miami, Florida // Unknown, Maryland

First Line(s): My boss was a world-class dick.

THE BALLER by Vi Keeland was one of those books that appeared on my radar when it seemed like everyone I knew was discussing it. Everywhere I turned there were people excited for this book and as I do love a good sportsing themed romance I decided to give it a try. In the end, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with THE BALLER because while I adored the banter of Delilah and Brody there were all these little things that just kept taking me out of the story. And that doesn’t even include the various sportsball things that they got wrong as I missed the bulk of those but I did hear about them from friends.

As I said, I adored Delilah and Brody and those two often had me cracking up. Their chemistry was off the charts and I loved watched them get their flirt on. I liked how they built up a bit of relationship first before jumping in the sack and felt that their story progression was realistic. Even with the crazy baggage the two of them were carrying. Because oy with the poodles did they each have some issues! And with those issues came all these cryptic references…and y’all know how I love those. Delilah’s though were ones that I felt with should have been dealt with a few years prior but we all deal with grief in different ways so I’ll give her a moderate pass but feel like therapy would have done wonders. Brody’s thing though…oy…that’s a horse of different color.

The Baller Quote

With Brody, I adored his relationship with Marlene and the sweet and caring side that we all knew was lurking underneath that cocky bastard. But what I didn’t like was Willow. Not so much her character but that we were suddenly (and oh so randomly) thrust into her POV mid-way through the book. It was jarring and I didn’t like. Her POVs didn’t add to the story. They didn’t make me feel any sort of sympathy for her and I just wanted them to go away. For all they did was to take me out of the story and I didn’t not like that.

THE BALLER was also filled with lots of little continuity issues and while I can sometimes ignore them in an ARC I can’t do that as well in a finished book. And the more they happened the more they took me out of the story. It became harder to just sit and bask in the goodness of Delilah and Brody when this Chinese Water Torture kept happening! Then there was that epilogue. Blergh. I won’t say much but if you’ve heard my rant on epilogues then know it holds true here. And no, I probably still haven’t learned my lesson to not read epilogues.

THE BALLER was my first book by Vi Keeland and while I’m not going to rush out to read her backlist I will read other things by her. While things weren’t perfect in THE BALLER I think that Keeland has promise and even with all the little things that bugged me her story still made my heart ache. I still became invested in the main story that she wrote about and for that she’ll be on my author to watch list.

irishdarkblue

IR - The Baller

 

Add The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton to Goodreads(Click here for my review.)

Add The Score by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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