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Posts Tagged: America: Pennsylvania

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review: Leveling the Field by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Leveling the Field by Megan EricksonLeveling the Field by Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers,
Also in this series: Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble
Published by Entangled Brazen on 02 May 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 162
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-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, Fast Connection

Place(s) Traveled To: Willow Park, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): The guy was late. Lissa Kingsman glanced at the clock on the wall of the office and tried not to look as irritated as she felt.

Ever since we first meet Ethan in Megan Erickson’s PLAYING FOR HER HEART (my reivew). I always love a good tortured hero story and I couldn’t wait to meet the girl who would break Ethan out of his shell. And Lissa did not disappoint. LEVELING THE FIELD is the final book in Erickson’s Gamers series and Ethan is the perfect character to conclude the series. I loved getting to know more about him and I loved watching as Lissa helped to break him out of his self-imposed solitude. Lissa is a fierce, strong heroine who doesn’t put up with any of Ethan’s bullshit and I loved that about her. I also loved her family and so it kind of makes me sad that this series is over because we won’t be able to see more of them, particularly her brother who I just adored. As with the other books in this series, the secondary characters really help to make the story and I loved being able to check in with characters from the previous books.

LEVELING THE FIELD is a short book and I do wish that it had been longer but this story totally sucked me in and kept me up into the wee hours of the night. I liked the tension between Lissa and Ethan and their chemistry but do with that they had more time together to be with each other and not just hooking up. Seemed liked they’d meet up, hook up, get into a fight and then part for a couple of weeks and then repeat. It was frustrating to me because I just wanted them to be together and find that happily ever after that I knew they each deserved. Although Ethan did have a lot of emotional baggage to deal with first and I think that Erickson handled that aspect of the story well. But I do think if could have been better if LEVELING THE FIELD was longer and if maybe Ethan saw a therapist. The man’s issues ran deep and I think that having him talk to a therapist would have been more realistic.

The writing, plot, and pacing in LEVELING THE FIELD is everything that I’ve come to expect in a Megan Erickson book but for me this one didn’t pack the emotional punch as some of her other reads. I think that this story, while dealing with some serious issues, stuck close to the surface and so I didn’t get as emotionally attached as I sometimes do. LEVELING THE FIELD is a good book but its not my favorite of Erickson’s or in this series. But I do think that it is worth the read because Ethan really deserves that happily ever after. I enjoyed LEVELING THE FIELD and I do recommend it I just think that, in this series my heart will always belong to Chad and Owen. <3

irishdarkblue

IR - Leveling the Field

 

Add The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-half-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, 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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Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

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

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle MeadLast Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy,
Also in this series: , Spirit Bound
Published by Razorbill on 7 December 2010
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 594
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Spirit Bound, Bloodlines

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Pennsylvania // Harrisburg, Pennsylvania // Roanoke, Virginia // Altswood, West Virginia // Lexington, Kentucky // Paris, Kentucky // Ann Arbor, Michigan // Detroit, Michigan // Sturgis, Michigan // Greenston, Michigan

First Line(s): I don’t like cages.

There was almost five years between my reads of BLOOD PROMISE (no review) and SPIRIT BOUND (my review) and I told myself that it wouldn’t that much time pass before I actually finished up the series. I had meant to read LAST SACRIFICE almost immediately after SPIRIT BOUND but it can be so hard for me to say goodbye to a series that it took me a few months before I was able to pick it up. As an ending, I liked LAST SACRIFICE and I managed to read this 600 page book in about a day. It was a quick read and fast paced but it isn’t my favorite in the series. Maybe its just the distance from my devouring of the first four books between now or maybe there was something else at play. For one, LAST SACRIFICE is a bit of a love triangle and we all know how I feel about those.

The main character, Rose, has been in love with Dimitri since VAMPIRE ACADEMY (my review) and they’ve had their ups and downs throughout the series. But in the final two books Rose has put aside those feelings and has started a relationship with Adrian only she really hasn’t. Which makes my heart hurt so much for Adrian who I’ve grown to love so much over the course of the series. Granted I never thought of Rose and Adrian as OTPs but he deserved better than how she treated him and I know that did affect my feelings towards this story in many ways.

Last Sacrifice Quote

I also think that LAST SACRIFICE could have been shorter than it was. Yes, there is the mystery of trying to figure out who framed Rose but I just felt it was a little stagnant at times as the characters just sort of shuffled about. Then the end result was kind of anti-climatic and didn’t seem to justify nearly 600 pages. Most of which was spent running around America getting to know the alchemist Sydney more as her story will be the focus of the BLOODLINES spinoff series (goodreads). I also really wasn’t a huge fan of how often Rose peaked into Lissa’s life. I get that there was no easy way to tell the reader all that was going on in court but I would have preferred a dual POV story than all the mind-link stuff. Especially since no matter how often Rose said she’s still full away of her surroundings when she was in Lissa’s mind she really was anything but.

Overall, I am glad that I finally finished this series and I know that I will be continuing on with BLOODLINES, which hopefully won’t take me over five years to read! But I wasn’t in love with the end of this series as I was in the beginning. I think that with time I’ve changed as a reader and I know for a fact that I’m a lot harder on books now than I was five years ago. I was invested in the story but I could have done without some of the angst and with what happened to Adrian. That boy needs love and he didn’t deserve to be treated as he was by Rose. I’m told that he makes an appearance in BLOODLINES so I’m hoping that there is a better end to his story than this.

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Tied to Trouble by Megan EricksonTied to Trouble by Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers,
Also in this series: Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Leveling the Field
Published by Entangled Brazen on 04 January 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance
Pages: 175
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|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, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Willow Park, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): Chad leaned over the candy apple-red fuel tank of his Honda Interceptor and prepared to gun the engine.

My stars where do I even begin when it comes to TIED TO TROUBLE by Megan Erickson? This is the book that was the whole reason why I started to read her Gamers books. And after meeting Chad and Owen in CHANGING HIS GAME (my review) I couldn’t wait to get to know them even better. Chad and Owen are like oil and water at times and yet they compliment each other so very well. These boys are seriously so OTP that it hurts. The push and pull between just made my heart ache and their chemistry was seriously off the charts!!

TIED TO TROUBLE is an opposites attract story and so there is much butting of heads between Chad and Owen but it works well as they really are each others yin and yang. They balance each other out even as they are driving each other crazy. Another thing that I loved about TIED TO TROUBLE was that we finally got all those cameos of Austin and Marley that I felt were missing from PLAYING FOR HER HEART (my review). I loved seeing where they were and how their continuing story was woven into the budding relationship of Chad and Owen.

Tied to Trouble Quote

As with the previous books in the Gamers series, TIED TO TROUBLE is a short book which then makes for a fast read. But despite its short length it feels longer. Erickson has a way of really building her world and her characters that more pages aren’t necessary. That isn’t to say that I don’t want more pages because I most definitely do! But TIED TO TROUBLE is a full and complete story and as a reader I don’t think that anything is missing. Well, except for those 100 or so more pages that further detail the roller coaster ride that is Chad and Owen’s relationship.

As with CHANGING HIS GAME, TIED TO TROUBLE is oh la la hot when it comes to the sexy times! These boys like to play and I swear I’ll never look at a bow tie the same way again! The story isn’t perfect there were things that I think could have been avoid if these two knuckheads just COMMUNICATED a little better but over all I loved TIED TO TROUBLE and it was so worth the read for me. This is a book I know I’ll be re-reading and also bullying others to read as well. So do yourselves a favor just go out and read it now and make me a happy little blogger.

irishdarkblue

IR - Tied to Trouble

Add Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Baller by Vi Keeland to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

four-stars
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: Playing for Her Heart by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Playing for Her Heart by Megan EricksonPlaying for Her Heart by Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers, Book 2
Also in this series: Changing His Game, Tied to Trouble, Leveling the Field
Published by Entangled Brazen on 11 Aug 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 186
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me, Make it Count, Changing His Game, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Willow Park, Pennsylvania // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): He was the perfect Beck.

 

PLAYING FOR HER HEART is the second book in Megan Erickson’s Gamers series and picks up almost exactly where CHANGING HIS GAME (my review) leaves off. PLAYING FOR HER HEART is the story of Grant and Chloe. Grant we met in CHANGING HIS GAME as Austin’s BFF and business partner and Chloe is a new introduction but she’s connected to the group through Ethan, who is a friend of Grants. I loved Grant in CHANGING HIS GAME so was happy to read his story but it took me a bit to warm up to Chloe. Chloe just ran a bit too hot and cold for me and she just seemed to be a walking contradiction. On one hand she was very shy and almost reclusive but then on the other she was bold and experimental when she was engaging in various role plays. She never really seemed to mesh the two sides of herself either.

Grant was a sweetheart and everything that I expected he’d be from CHANGING HIS GAME and then some. I also loved getting to know Sydney more and seeing their interactions and that is saying a lot from me because kids are so hard to capture realistically in books. I’m usually not a fan of child characters but in this case it worked and that says a lot of Erickson’s writing and characterization. But what I was disappointed in with PLAYING FOR HER HEART was the lack of scenes with Austin. It seemed like his parts were given over to Ethan and while I get that Grant and Ethan are good friends they aren’t best friends like Grant and Austin. There were just moments that it seemed would have worked better if they’d played out with Austin instead of Ethan.

Playing for Her Heart Quote

Even though I didn’t think that Ethan was always the right person for a scene I loved him as a character. I loved his relationship with his sister, Chloe and oh how he made my heart ache! For me, Ethan was a distraction in PLAYING FOR HER HEART because he stole every scene that he was in. He and Sydney tended to steal the lime light from the two main characters, Grant and Chloe so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I didn’t like PLAYING FOR HER HEART as much as CHANGING HIS GAME. Chloe was just too inconsistent a character and her love story was overshadowed by secondary characters which is never a good thing.

But like CHANGING HIS GAME, PLAYING FOR HER HEART is a quick read. It makes for a great escape for an afternoon is an enjoyable story but not one that wows me. I think that might be in part because I’m not really into the whole role play aspect of the sex scenes between Grant and Chloe. I get the escapism of it all and even the appeal to become someone else but I am more or a realist and so that’s why CHANGING HIS GAME is my favorite of the two Gamers books that I’ve reviewed. PLAYING FOR HER HEART is worth reading and its an important book in the series, mostly because we learn more about Ethan, but its not going to be my favorite.

irishdarkblue

IR - Playing for Her Heart

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

Add Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: Changing His Game by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Changing His Game by Megan EricksonChanging His Game by Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers,
Also in this series: Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Leveling the Field
Published by Entangled Brazen on 28 April 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance
Pages: 172
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me, Make it Count, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Willow Park, Pennsylvania // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): Marley Lake hated the spinning rainbow wheel.

Holy hotness batman!! CHANGING HIS GAME by Megan Erickson is one sexy ass read! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up CHANGING HIS GAME. What I did know was that it was the first book in a series and I really wanted to read the third book, TIED TO TROUBLE. When I can I like to read a series in order and so I grabbed myself a copy of CHANGING HIS GAME and was very happily surprised. This book is smart and funny and off the charts sexy.

I loved this cast of characters and Marley and Austin are so OTP that it hurts. They made me smile throughout this entire book, well, that is when they weren’t busy breaking my heart as they go through those pesky trouble times that are part of the romance formula. The secondary characters really help to flesh out this world and I hope to see more of them all in the books to come.

Changing His Game Quote

 

CHANGING HIS GAME is a short book and as such its a quick read. I got lost within its pages and I hated to put it down. It was filled with a great story line that was realistic and it made my heart ache in all the ways that I love. The push and pull between Austin helps to fuel their chemistry and it just sizzles off the page. This is one book that I hated to end because I hated to leave this world and these characters.

With every book that I read of Megan Erickson’s I become more and more a fan of her work. Her stories are so diverse and real and so very easy to get lost in. I am really looking forward to discovering the other books in this series and learning the stories of the other characters. Erickson is also fast becoming an autobuy author from me. Her stories are crack in the best sort of way.

irishdarkblue

IR - Changing His Game

 

Add Lead by Kylie Scott to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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

 

four-stars
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Audio Review: Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Blood Wounds by Susan Beth PfefferBlood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Narrator: Stephanie Bentley
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 08 Jan 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Family, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 5 hours 12 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Westbridge, Pennsylvania // Prior, Texas

First Line(s): I think even if nothing had happened the next day, even if my life had stayed just as it was that night at supper, I’d still remember what Jack said.

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer has been on my radar for a few years now so when I saw that it was on Audible I thought that it would be a good opportunity to finally cross something off my TBR list. Blood Wounds is a short audio and so while the overall story didn’t thrill me much at least it didn’t take all that much time to get through. The narrator, Stephanie Bentley, was decent enough but truth told I don’t really remember much about her voice or style so in the end she was a bit forgettable. The main story of Blood Wounds is a bit of a yawn as well considering that the whole story set up by the synopsis is over by around 25% of the book. There was no drama or suspense and nothing like I was expecting.

The main character, Willa, is such a mary sue. She is such a passive and boring character who had no life to her. Her home life seems ideal on the surface but its far from perfect. She lives with her mom, stepdad and his two daughters and she’s totally the Cinderalla in this blended family. Her stepsisters live a life of luxury while Willa gets overlooked and is told to be grateful with the little scraps that are tossed her way. For a while I was expecting something more sinister to come out of this family unit but no just a not so perfect family putting on a face for the world to see.

Blood Wounds Quote

Will eventually shows a little life and spunk when she insists on flying to Texas to attend the funeral of the sisters she never knew but that’s about the only time she ever sticks up for herself. There was a lot of potential to Blood Wounds but it never lived up to its promise. The plot was so underdeveloped that it was practically non-existent. The characters where all two dimensional and forgettable and I just don’t know what the whole point of this story was supposed to be.  Blood Wounds is also one of those rare books in the world of contemporary fiction that doesn’t have a romance to it. There is also no happy ending. This is just a sad and depressing book.

This was a book that I wanted to like more than I did but in the end the characters, the story, and everything about it just left me disappointed. For me, Blood Wounds, isn’t a book that really sticks in the memory banks and its not one that I think that I’ll ever recommend to someone else.

irishdarkblue

This wasn’t a book for me but here are some others who enjoyed it more

Reading Nook: Susan Beth Pfeffer did an excellent job with the pacing of this novel though. I was hooked from the very first sentence, and didn’t stop reading until the story was over. Each character was so perfectly crafted. I could picture each one of them clear as day and even overheard their voices while they conversed.

I Read Banned Books – Many of us will be able to identify with someone in this book, and we can learn a few things from watching this complex family unravel and slowly weave its way back again.

 

IR - Blood Wounds

Add Circle 9 by Anne Heltzel to Goodreads.

Add Awake by Natasha Preston to Goodreads.

two-stars
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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review2 Comments

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew QuickSilver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Narrator: Ray Porter
Published by Blackstone Audio on 09 October 2008
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Length: 7 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland // Collingswood, New Jersey // Voorhees, New Jersey // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I don’t have to look up to know that Mom is making another surprise visit.

I first became interested in Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick when I learned that the 2012 film of the same name was based on a book. The movie looked interesting enough and I had wanted to read the book before seeing it as that is my preference when it comes to movies based on books. But as sometimes happens life got in the way and the movie and book faded from my mind until I stumbled across it on Netflix. Needing a new audiobook around that time I decided to listen to this one and then watch the movie. The first thing that grabbed me with this audiobook was the narrator, Ray Porter. I just loved his voice and how he became Pat Peoples. I loved his energy and the humor he brought to this story as well as all the various other emotions that Pat goes through over the course of the book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, narrators really make or break and audio and Ray Porter definitely makes this one.

That said, I will admit that if I’d read this one in print there were sections of the book that I would have skipped. Not the main story but all the football chants that filled this book. These things are easy to glance over in print but with an audio you just have to sit back and suffer through them. Hoping against hope with each one that it will be the last. And then being disappointed when it isn’t because Pat Peoples, and most of the people that he knows, are obsessed with Eagles football and they spend a lot of time watching football, talking football, and going to football games. Which for this, non-sportsing person, was akin to mild torture. But as Pat is only just reclaiming his life from being in a mental health facility I can accept that those around him want to keep things simple as he eases back into the real world.

Silver Linings Playbook Quote

Then Pat meets Tiffany, who is also dealing with mental health issues, and the two form a strange bond. Pat wants to become this ideal man to win back his ex-wife and Tiffany wants to win this upcoming dance competition. Tiffany convinces Pat that she’ll help him with Nikki if he gives up football (in all forms) and trains for the competition with her. At first, I was a bit happy with this as “yay no more sportsing talk!” but then the more I thought about it and the more this section of the book progressed I liked it less and less. Despite all of Pat’s flaws, I liked him. Deep down he was  a sweet guy who was just dealing with a lot of stuff. Tiffany, on the other hand, was such a hard personality to like. She was mean and controlling and I just could not connect with her character. I just wasn’t a fan and never felt any chemistry between Pat and Tiffany which made this part of the book harder to get through as I wasn’t engaged.

Overall, I liked Silver Linings Playbook, and I enjoyed Pat’s outlook on life. I liked that he was always searching for that silver lining though the path he took may not have always been the best one. I thought the book was realistic and well written and I am interested to see how it plays out on film. I started it while on vacation last October but the connection was bad and watching on a laptop isn’t always the most ideal so I still need to sit down with this one. Silver Linings Playbook is definitely not for everyone but it wasn’t a bad read and if you at all curious about it then you should probably give it a read.

irishdarkblue

 

 

 

IR - Silver Linings Playbook

Add Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen to Goodreads.

Add The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Deep by Kylie Scott

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

Review: Deep by Kylie ScottDeep by Kylie Scott
Series: Stage Dive,
Also in this series: Lick, Play, Lead
on 31 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Road Trip, Social Issues
Pages: 288
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: Lick, Play, Lead, Dirty

Place(s) Traveled To: Albuquerque, New Mexico // Portland, Oregon // Saint Louis, Missouri // Las Vegas, Nevada // Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia // New York, New York

First Line(s): Positive. I reread the instructions, doing my best to flatten out the creases in the piece of paper one-handed.

Deep by Kylie Scott is the fourth and final book in her Stage Dive series which see the various members of the band of the same name fall head over heels in love. Walking into Deep I knew that it was a story that I was looking forward to but its also one that I dreaded a bit because Lead (my review) was going to be a really hard book to follow. Lead was my favorite of the series and a part of me just knew that Ben’s story wouldn’t be able to hold up to Jimmy’s. And I was right. Though that doesn’t mean I didn’t like Ben and Lizzy’s story I just didn’t love it.

I just felt that Ben was a total dick throughout much of the book and I just shook my head every time Lizzy forgave his brutish behavior with very little meaningful apology from him. Not that Ben couldn’t been sweet because he could and I did adore the text messages that the two exchanged but when push came to shove Ben just wasn’t there for Lizzy. It takes two to make a baby after all and both need to face the consequences of that one night stand. Either stand up or just walk away. The push and pull half measures were just frustrating and Lizzy deserved better. Though I did love the moment between Ben and Jimmy when Jimmy gave Ben a piece of his mind. That has got to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. But as you might guess I’m a bit biased by all things Jimmy.  I also wasn’t a fan of how Anne kept treating Lizzy as if she was a child. Lizzy was an adult and about to have a baby its time that Anne realizes that and starts treating her accordingly. Lizzy also needed a bit more of a backbone she was a bit too passive for my tastes throughout most of the story.

Deep Quote

I liked Deep and thought that it was a good ending to the series. I liked how all the guys found their girls and they all found a happily ever after. I could have done without the crazy baby name but they are celebrities and if the real world has taught me nothing its that celebrities do like their crazy unusual names. I also found Deep to be a quick read and I finished it in just over a day. I loved this world and these characters so even with my issues with Ben’s actions throughout the book I still couldn’t stop turning the pages. While the characters did sometimes frustrate me they also made my heart ache and at times I wanted to shake them both. But I was invested in their story and being invested is always a good thing.

The Stage Dive series was a really enjoyable one for me and I am going to miss this world now that its over. I know that I will be re-reading Jimmy’s story often and re-reading the others for all those glimpses of my favorite character. Seriously, if you trust my opinion at all then you need to meet Jimmy and with him his bandmates. These books are worth the read and I am really looking forward to seeing what Kylie Scott comes up with next.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Deep

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

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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