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Posts Tagged: Authors: D – F

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Sort-Of Return of a Terrible Blogger (aka Rapid Reviews #1)

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Ack!!

2017 has not been a good year for me blogging wise. Its not that I don’t want to blog I just get so overwhelmed with how far behind I am on reviews and so run away from the open blog post window and escape into a book. Which then just makes the cycle repeat. So I think that I am just not going to try. Which is a terrible thing for a blogger to say…but its October 2017 and I’m like 158 blog posts in the hole….there is no way I am digging myself out that that with any grace. lol

So instead what I am going to do is draft up a series of posts listing out the books I’ve read each month. Starting with some of my 2016 backlog….yes, I still have books to review from 2016. 

 

I will mention the book, my star rating, and will add in a line or two of thoughts for those books I remember enough to comment on. Maybe one day, for some of them, I’ll write up something longer. But for now I think that this is what I can handle and then I can start of 2018 with a clean slate. Because I do miss blogging. I’ve just been doing this for ten years and got a bit overwhelmed so I think this break has been good for me. That said here are my first Rapid Reviews.

READ IN 2016 – Part 1

1. Title: All Note Long
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Perfect Harmony, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story and I just loved the push and pull between these characters. They gave me all the heart-achy feels that I love and I had such a hard time putting this one down. A great end to a fun series.
Recommend: Yes!

2. Title: Interference
Author: Kay Honeyman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: This one left me wanting something more. I also did not like the main character. She was so clueless about everything, her love interest was always trying to make her look like an idiot, and her parents were just awful. I went into this one with high hopes and found it to be just so-so.
Recommend: Not really

3. Title: Even Odds
Author: Elia Winters
Series: Slices of Pi, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: So…I kind of recall reading this one but I also don’t really remember much else. GR says I read it in a day which is usually a good thing, but I made no notes. So, in the end a forgettable read.
Recommend: um…maybe? lol

4. Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Narrator: Frankie Corzo
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Parallel World
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story!! I loved how Friedman pulled off the parallel words and how she brought everything full circle for a satisfactory ending. The narrator was A+ and really helped to bring these characters to life. I wasn’t always a fan of the secondary characters (Ruby 😡 ) but I could totally relate to Summer.
Recommend: Yes!

5. Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Series: The Star-Touched Queen, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: ZOMG this MC bugged the ever loving crap out of me! Talk about your TSTL sort of heroine. I spent much of the book wanting to shake her and the rest rolling my eyes. I found the plot to be repetitive and really the only thing that kept me in this one until the end was the narrator.
Recommend: Nope!

6. Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was one of those books that I didn’t mean to start when I picked it up and then became so engrossed I couldn’t put it down. I loved these characters and the story that Stokes told. I do think that some things were a little rushed but overall just a great story that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning. <3
Recommend: Yes!

7. Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was sent to me by a sales rep friend of mine and I wasn’t sure if it was a me book. But my starts, this friend gets me and the books that I like. I fell in love with these MCs and had such a hard time putting this one down. It just hit me right in the feels and I can’t recommend it enough.
Recommend: Yes!

8. Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Narrator: Christa Lewis
Series: Wolf by Wolf, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Alternate History
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I went into this one with high hopes and was terribly disappointed. It was so very sssllllooowww! Nothing seemed to happen for much of the story and then you blink and its over in this crazy convoluted climatic scene. Ugh. I was annoyed more than anything and not sure if I’ll ever pick up sequel as I really don’t care about these characters.
Recommend: Maybe

9. Title: Connection Error
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #gaymers, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Annabeth Albert is a total must read author for me as she writes such wonderful characters. There is angst and heart ache and everything just ends in a happy sigh. I know when I pick up an Albert book that I’ll most likely read it in one sitting and be left wanting more and this one was no exception.
Recommend: Yes

10. Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Narrator: Ramon de Ocampo
Series: Shadow Magic, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: It took me FOREVER to start this one, not because anything was wrong with story but because I was so scared I wouldn’t like it that I was afraid to start it. But once I did I was totally sucked in. Loved these characters (HADES!!!) and this world. Such a fun, fast paced middle grade series. My only real disappointment was that they didn’t use two narrators. There were POV chapters from Lily’s POV and they would have been even better with a female narrator to go along with them.
Recommend: Most definitely!

11. Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Holy geekery goodness! I loved everything about this story. Trixie was a character that I could easily relate to and this story took me notice or at all to read. I think I had a big smile on my face for much of the book. Lots of pop culture nerd references which you don’t see a lot of in YA characters. The only real thing missing was that the romance wasn’t super romancy (i.e. not enough kissing) but there is a companion coming out so I hope to see more of these characters in that book!
Recommend: Si Senor

12. Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: I DEVOURED Illuminae and was super excited for Gemini. While I didn’t love this as much as the first I did still enjoy it. This one was a wee bit more love triangly (though not terribly so) than I would have liked. Overall this was still an addicting read and I am really curious to see where things go in the third book.
Recommend: Heck yeah!

13. Title: One Silver Summer
Author: Rachel Hickman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Gift
Rapid Review: This one seemed like it would be totally up my ally but oh my stars it was painful to read!! I did read it in a single sitting as I kept hoping for improvement but alas this one was a dud. Too many one off POVs, easy story lines to figure out and a way to annoying heroine just wrecked this one for me.
Recommend: Nope. Nope. Nope.

14. Title: Cold-Hearted Rake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Kleypas is usually an easy sell for me but I didn’t love this one as much as her others. I really wasn’t a fan of how the heroine’s sister hijacked much of the book. This is all the more annoying when you know that book 2 is the sisters book so much of what happened here should have happened there. I liked the characters for the most part those the heroine did annoy me more than I would have liked as well.
Recommend: Yes, but not to everyone

15.Title: The Deepest Blue
Author: Christina Lee
Series: Roadmap to Your Heart, Book 2
Genre: New Adult, MM Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I always love a good Christina Lee story and have been enjoying her foray into MM romances. And while I enjoyed this one there was just something missing that kept me from loving it entirely. I liked the family interactions and the push/pull between the two MCs…I just can’t put my finger on what didn’t set my heart aflutter. Still worth the read though if you stumble on it 🙂
Recommend: Yes

16.Title: Overexposed
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus, Book 4
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Oh star this book!! Oh how these characters made my heart ache in all the best possible of ways. I could not put this book down and its totally my favorite in the series. I loved how this story progressed and how Erickson brought them to their HEA. Biggest regret is that it had to end.
Recommend: YES!!

17.Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Ann Gallagher
Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 14
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance (Ace MC)
Rating: 3 stars
Sourced: Library
Rapid Review: This one drew me because of the Ace MC but I did feel like I was being lectured to a lot about the different types of love. It also seemed a little too, gay for you at times as well, but that may have just been my frustration with how some of the characters acted and all the lectures. I also really hated on character and wasn’t a fan of the epilogue. Why oh why do I read epilogues? Overall though, I did like how different types of sexuality were explored in this book as there aren’t enough Ace characters in books.
Recommend: Yes

18.Title: Fly With Me
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: Hello sexy fly boys! I don’t read a ton of military romances but I did enjoy this one. The characters were fun and the chemistry sizzled off the page. There was lots of great banter and angst and I just rushed right through this one until I hit the end of the book.
Recommend: Yes

19.Title: Shuffle, Repeat
Author: Jen Klein
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This one started off of so adorably cute and I was loving every page. I was flying through the pages but then it all just took a turn near the end. I still liked it but it totally killed some of my enjoyment of the whole story.  Definitely worth the read though if you are looking for something cute to pass the time.
Recommend: Yes

20.Title: Frazzled: Everyday Disasters of Impending Doom
Author: Booki Vivat
Series: Frazzled, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: I don’t read a ton of middle grade but I did adore this one. Its a mix of drawing and story and it just all flowed really well. Abbie Wu is a character that was easy to identify with and the story made me laugh out loud at times. It was a super quick read and I am looking forward to reading more of Abbie’s adventures in middle school.
Recommend: Yes

Reviews Left in the Queue

2016: 30
2017: 111
Total Reviews: 138

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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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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Saving Maverick by Debra Elise

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

Review: Saving Maverick by Debra EliseSaving Maverick by Debra Elise
Series: Outlaws of Baseball,
Published by Bloomsbury on 04 Apr 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Pineville, Idaho

First Line(s): Maverick Jansen woke to the sound of a jackhammer tearing down his hotel room door.

If you know me then you know a couple things, namely that I like New Adult and that while I may not be a big sportsing fan in real life I do adore a good sportsing book. With that in mind one would think that SAVING MAVERICK would be a book that is right up my alley. Especially when you toss in a bad boy in need of redemption and the girl hired to save his image. I had hopes for SAVING MAVERICK but sadly this book failed to live up to them. First, SAVING MAVERICK is billed as a New Adult read but for me it came across as a very adult story. If you go just based on age I think it might just squeak in, though to be honest I can’t remember how old these characters were. But they were all pretty settled and established in their careers and that to me just makes this story lean more towards Adult. For me, New Adult is more college and early career, with characters trying to figure out their place in the world.

Another thing that bugged me about SAVING MAVERICK was that it was filled with errors and random head jumping. Some of the errors I could chalk up to reading an ARC but there were just so many that they became hard to ignore. And the head jumping oh my stars it was just bad. One paragraph we’d be in Kelsey’s head in the next Maverick and then a few pages later a whole new POV just for fun. I don’t mind books with alternate POVs but I do like there to be a little structure to them. The constant changing of POV makes it really hard to keep up with the story and it just gives my brain whiplash as I struggle to keep up!  It also didn’t help to endear me to Kelsey and Maverick who are just two very blah, cliched characters that are pretty forgettable. Sorry folks, no heart achy moments here….or at least none that I can remember.

 

Normally I have a really good memory when it comes to books and plots but when I think back on SAVING MAVERICK I mostly get a blank page in my brain and so am very glad for my Goodreads notes because my kindle has totally failed me. (Why oh why is it deleting my highlights and notes?!? *cries*) But memorability aside, Kelsey and Maverick where your pretty standard fare when it comes to romance characters and their story may have been a good one if the plot wasn’t so muddled with those errors mentioned above and the crazy side plot. The subplot was just too much and was more of a distraction than anything else. It was also very predictable. This whole story was pretty predicable. Not to mention repetitive. So very very very very repetitive. And we all know just how much I “love” repetitive dialogue and storylines. *eye roll*

In the end SAVING MAVERICK wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t good either. It falls somewhere in the middle and was just mediocre for me. SAVING MAVERICK is the start of a series and I’m not sure if I’ll read the other books when they come out. Or at the very least I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to read it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Saving Maverick

Add Act Like It by Lucy Parker to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

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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Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

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

Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy, Book 2
Also in this series: The Book of Ivy
Published by Entangled Teen on 03 Nov 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 290
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Book of Ivy

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, America // Westfall, Unknown

First Line(s): No one survives beyond the fence.

THE REVOLUTION OF IVY is the final book in Amy Engel’s Book of Ivy duology. It picks up right where THE BOOK OF IVY (my review) leaves off and jumps right into the story. I really enjoyed THE BOOK OF IVY and its sequel continues in the same addictive voice although I did find Ivy a bit more annoying in this book than the first. It just seemed that in THE REVOLUTION OF IVY that she was much more whiny and less sure of herself. Granted when you are thrust out into an unknown world with little means to survive I can understand her hesitations, to a point. What I didn’t get were her interactions with Mark, a known killer, and how she continually let him berate her and convince her that her crimes were just as bad as his and so she must keep his secrets. When all Ivy’s crime really was, was to be born a Westfall and how she married a Lattimer.

THE REVOLUTION OF IVY, like its predecessor, is a quick brain candy sort of read. Its engrossing even though it remains a bit short on details when it comes to the building of the world. Most of the characters remain two dimensional and are forgotten almost as soon as they leave the page but there are a few that do stand out. Most notably is Bishop, who I liked more and more with each interaction with him. Bishop is a good balance for Ivy as she tends to be all over the map in this book while he remains a strong and steady force. Bishop is the sort of book boyfriend that you really want to know. After all, how many people do you know would leave the protected walls of their village just to find you?

Revolution of Ivy Quote

 

The middle of THE REVOLUTION OF IVY was a bit slow at times as not much happened. There was lots of waiting about as Ivy tried to figure out who she was in this new world and just how Bishop fit into it all. Then there were all the things that she left behind and the role she played in events that were still in motion. This resulted in a crazy rushed ending that left me a little unsatisfied as it just lacked something. I think it just all comes back to the fact that while Engel writes pretty prose she tends to put much weight and meaning into the words. This makes the book sound bad, which is wasn’t, its just more of a surface sort of read than anything too deep.

I enjoyed THE REVOLUTION OF IVY and thought that it was a fitting end to the duology as any more books would have just dragged things out unnecessarily. For all of Ivy’s annoyances she is a character that I will miss along with Bishop and some of the new characters that we meet in this book. I like Engel’s writing style and know that I will be reading more of her in the future. While I can’t recommend this duology to hard core dystopian fans I think those that are interested in stepping foot into this genre will like it. I also think that this series would make good beach/vacation reads as they don’t take a whole lot of thought to read. Its a fun series not an amazing one.

irishdarkblue IR - Book of Ivy

 

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

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

three-stars
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

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

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

Place(s) Traveled To: Westfall, Unknown

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

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

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

Book of Ivy Quote

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

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

irishdarkblue

IR - Book of Ivy

 

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

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

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

Strong Signal Quote

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

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

irishdarkblue

IR - Strong Signal

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

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

four-stars
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Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Sacked by Jen Frederick

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

Review: Sacked by Jen FrederickSacked by Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron,
Published by Self-Published on 06 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, America

First Line(s): I don’t see her until I’m three quarters of the way up the stands.

***Warning: This review may contain spoilers.***

As a lover of the sportsing romances I had high hopes for SACKED by Jen Frederick especially as it was a book that a lot of people were talking about. Which, as you know, I often have mixed feelings on. I liked the premise of SACKED, with the hero being a virgin as its not a common one in romances. Even though I’ve read a few with this trope I do still find it refreshing although I couldn’t help but roll my eyes often when it came to Knox Masters. This is a guy who hasn’t dated much and has focused on school and football but within moments of meeting Ellie he’s convinced that she’s THE ONE and that she’s worthy of his heart, his virginity, and is the key to his happily ever after. It was just a bit too much too soon and just a little too unbelievable.

Then there was Ellie, who was shackled to her brother and was forced to follow him everywhere, sit in on his classes and even to do his coursework. It was maddening and it made no sense and I don’t get why Ellie did it all. Especially since her brother could be a bit of a dick and her parents were the absolute worst. They give helicopter parenting a whole new name. I also found Ellie to be a bit abrasive herself at times and just never really bought her relationship with Knox. The two just didn’t have much in the way chemistry and their entire conflict comes from a complete and utter failure to communicate. And we all know how much that bugs me in books. When the entire thing can be solved by talking it just frustrates me when the characters do anything but.

Sacked Quote

Another thing that bugged me about SACKED was how dismissive it was of community colleges. As if a community college was less and inferior to a 4 year university. When some of the more challenging classes I took in my college career were at a community college. The portrayal of college life in general in SACKED also didn’t ring true and it just frustrated me throughout the book and took me out of the story.

SACKED wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t a book for me. The writing was good and but there was just so much that bothered me about it that I couldn’t fully enjoy it. I do plan on checking out Frederick’s next book in the series, JOCK BLOCKED, as I do sometimes have better luck as a series goes. After all that’s what happened with Kristen Callihan’s Game On series. While this book wasn’t for me I do know many who loved it so if you like the sportsing romances than definitely give this one a shot.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Sacked

 

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

Add The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

two-stars
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa DareLord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove,
Also in this series: A Week to be Wicked
Published by Avon on 08 December 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Road Trip, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 144
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot

Place(s) Traveled To: Hastings, England // Spindle Cove, England // Canterbury, England (19th Century)

First Line(s): By the age of three-and-twenty, Miss Elinora Browning had given up on wedding vows – instead, she made herself a promise.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a novella set in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cover universe and was a quick, fun story that I enjoyed. As with most of Dare’s books the two leads had some amazing banter and good chemistry. I loved the story of Nora and Dashwood and their scenes often brought a smile to my face. When they weren’t making my heart ache with their backstory. What I didn’t like about LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT was how the POV would split and go into other characters from Dare’s Spindle Cove books. Those POVs were distracting and didn’t add anything to the story for me. What I wanted more of in this book was more time spent with Nora and Dash.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a sweet romance and the declaration at the end will just melt your heart. This is a short novella but it feels like a full story. It was fun revisiting Spindle Cove and seeing some of those characters and I hope that we get to see Nora and Dash in the upcoming book, DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL.

 

irishdarkblue

Lord Dashwood Quote
three-stars
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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

Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth FlynnFirsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 05 January 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Rancho Palos Verdes, California

First Line(s): Tonight, I’m doing Evan Brown’s girlfriend a favor.

FIRSTS is the debut novel of Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and is a book that doesn’t shy away from some tough topics. For one, FIRSTS talks a lot about sex. Not just talk about it but also shows characters having sex. Which isn’t an uncommon thing for teenagers to do (even if parents would like to pretend otherwise) but its not a topic that is commonly shown in YA books.

FIRSTS is a raw book with a heroine that isn’t always the most likable. She thinks that she’s doing a good thing by sleeping with other girls’s boyfriends for their first time but its really just a cover up to hide the pain of her past. That part of the story was hard for me because I really despise cheating in a book and even though Mercedes felt like she was helping she was really just helping these boys cheat. So I didn’t always like Mercedes or her choices but I did like how FIRSTS portrayed her as both smart and pretty because all too often it seems like a character, or even a person in real life, can be only one or the other.

Firsts Quote

What I liked about Mercedes was how real she was. This is a girl who wants people to think she has her act together but she’s really just struggling to hold on. She pushes the people away who want to get close to her and draws in those who only want to use her. She feels like if she controls how much people around her see then the less chance she’ll get hurt. But life doesn’t work that way its messy and complicated and sometimes you get hurt and just as you hurt those around you. And despite all her best intention Mercedes did gather a good group of friends around her, Angela and Fayer….and also Zach. Oh Zach. I adored that boy and I loved how he saw Mercedes for who she was and not who she tried to appear. It was all these secondary characters that made me fall in love with this story.

FIRSTS is a book that is raw and it doesn’t really hold anything back. It shows a side of growing up that many people want to ignore that teens have sex and that teens can be cruel. But it also shows how caring they can be and the struggles that they face. FIRSTS is a fast paced read that is really well written. Flynn has a gift with narration and even as I didn’t always like Mercedes I did like her voice. Laurie Elizabeth Flynn is definitely on my author watch list because I can not wait to see what story she brings into the world next. And if you haven’t read FIRSTS yet then get on it. Its a hard book to describe just how great it is but it is. Take this from a girl that usually avoids books with cheating like the plague and yet with FIRSTS I couldn’t get enough of this world.

irishdarkblue

IR - Firsts

Thanks to Tiff from Mostly YA Lit for her help in choosing these read-a-likes!

Add Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang to Goodreads. (Click here for Tiff’s Review)

Add Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik to Goodreads. (Click here for Tiff’s Review)

Click here for Tiff’s review of Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.

four-stars
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