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Posts Tagged: Contemporary Romance

Monday, May 16, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay Crownover

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

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay Crownover

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay CrownoverCharged by Jay Crownover
Series: Saints of Denver, Book 2
Also in this series: Leveled
Published by William Morrow on 24 May 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 361
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Better When He's Bad, Rowdy, Asa, Leveled, Built

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado

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

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

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

CHARGED - Tour Teaser 2

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

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

irishdarkblue

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

Excerpt

Avett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

About CHARGED:

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

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

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

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

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

 

CHARGED - Tour Teaser 1

 

 

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

 

LEVELED - cover

LEVELED

 

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

BUILT

 

 

Jay Crownover - author picAbout Jay Crownover:

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

 

 

 

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

CHARGED Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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three-stars
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: 26 Kisses by Anna Michels

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

Review: 26 Kisses by Anna Michels26 Kisses by Anna Michels
Published by Simon Pulse on 24 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Butterfield, Michigan // Trawley, Michigan

First Line(s): Seth loved me first.

When I picked up Anna Michels’s debut 26 KISSES I was hoping for a cute story with a happily ever after. I was also wary of 26 KISSES because the whole premise is for the main character, Veda, is to kiss 26 boys as a way to get over her long time boyfriend who broke up with her because he’s an asshat. Yes, I was happy that Vee was trying to move on in a unique way since the regular method (crying and ice cream wasn’t helping) but I also wanted her to find a new happily ever after….or at least a happily for now….with someone new. How can she do that though if she’s busy kissing other guys?

I needed have worried though because Michels writes a fun, quirky summer time read that made my heart ache in all the right ways. I love the challenge that Vee’s friend, Melinda, comes up with that Vee should kiss a boy whose name begins with each of the different letters of the alphabet. Now before you think that 26 KISSES is one big make out session that isn’t the case at all. Vee takes a creative mind to the kisses and while there are some make out sessions there is also Elmo the dog and a kiss on the forehead from her father. And along the way there is Killian. *swoons*

26 Kisses Quote

Killian is sure to become many a readers book boyfriend. He is sweet and funny and compliments Vee in so many ways. I love so much about this boy and I totally want to see the dashboard of his jeep! I swear if I was back in high school with my beater of a car I’d want to start doing something similar. Next to Vee I think Killian was my favorite character in 26 KISSES but I also loved Mel and Seth and all in all the secondary cast in this book is just full of win.

26 KISSES is a quick, fun read that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Its well written and is a total feel good, brain candy sort of read. Once I started this one I found it hard to put down and had a smile on my face almost the whole time. I am really glad that I put aside my fears of love triangles and picked this one up because even though there are lots of kisses there is only one real romantic story line and its so heart-achingly good. 26 KISSES isn’t out until 24 May but you totally want this on your wishlists!

irishdarkblue

IR - 26 Kisses

Add The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Review: Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne

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

Review: Labor of Love by Rachel HawthorneLabor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne
Published by Harper Teen on 10 June 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Trouble From the Start

Place(s) Traveled To: New Orleans, Louisiana

First Line(s): “I see a spectacular sunrise.”

***This review contains some spoilers. Read at your own risk.***

Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne is a book that Andi of AndiABCs has been telling me to read for a while. So much so that she eventually gifted a copy of it to my kindle and when I needed a happy book to read I decided this was the one. Labor of Love is set in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina and the city is still rebuilding. Enter in Dawn and her friends Jenna and Amber who all take time out of their summer to be part of a home building project. Dawn is a last minute addition to the trip as her initial plans included spending the summer with her boyfriend tour various water parks. That is until she catches him cheating on her and she decides to join her friends instead. One of the first things the girls do in New Orleans is to visit a psychic who tells them all things that they are unsure they want to hear but it leads them all down unexpected paths.

One of the things that the psychic tells Dawn is that she’s going to meet someone soon and fall in love. As she’s anti-boy and anti-dating at the start of the trip she doesn’t believe it. Then she and her friends meet Brady, Tank and Sean and sparks start to fly between them all. No, not a crazy menage but they all pair off into almost too perfect to be true groupings as each guy seems to be the perfect match for each girl. Even Amber who struggles with her feelings for Sean as she has a boyfriend at home. Dawn is attracted to Brady and vice versa but the two are both reeling from hurts and so they make a pact to only be together for the summer. No strings, no long term commitments just experience the here and now with no feelings involved. Which we all know is just a recipe for disaster waiting to happen because feelings always come into play in these situations and someone always ends up getting hurt.

Labor of Love Quote

The hurt, and break up of the non-couple, is brought about by the actions of Amber, who I never really liked, and Dawn because sometimes you are your own worst enemy when it comes to a situation. Amber, freaking out over her feelings for Sean decides to run away from New Orleans and return to Texas where she’s disappears for most of the book. Things are lighter and happier during that time without all of her angst getting in the way. But then she returns and she brings with her Drew, Dawn’s ex, because she thinks they should get back together. No matter that Dawn said that would never happen no matter how sorry he ever said he would. But Amber knows best and is all confused when Dawn gets mad at her for pretty much telling Drew that she was pining for him and wanted him back. And this is about where in the book I started to heavy sigh and roll my eyes and wish that Amber never came back to New Orleans.

There is drama and angst and of course Dawn and Brady break up because their is a misunderstanding and Brady is thinking he’s reliving a scenario with his last girlfriend and doesn’t want to repeat it. What I did like was that Dawn owned up to her mistakes and then worked to rebuild the trust between her and Brady. She never pushed and she also communicated her feelings and more importantly apologized for her actions. There was a lot of growth on her part and it was good to see in a book. It was also good to see that Brady didn’t immediately forgive and forget immediately.

Overall, Labor of Love was just an ok book for me and this may have been the time in which I read it which was really sad. The characters seemed a bit wooden at times but I did grow to like Dawn and Brady and their story. There were things I didn’t like and had issues with and this one took me far longer than it should have to read but it wasn’t a terrible story. While it won’t ever be my favorite Rachel Hawthorne it does make me want to continue reading her backlist titles.

irishdarkblue

IR - Labor of Love

Add The Fill in Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

three-stars
Divider

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review5 Comments

Review: Scoring Wilder by R.S. GreyScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
Published by Self-Published on 15 June 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 356
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: With This Heart

Place(s) Taveled to: Los Angeles, California // Malibu, California

First Line(s): Cheat on me once, shame on him. Cheat on me twice…what the actual fuck is going on?

I first heard about Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey from a friend and it sounded like it would be right up me alley. I do love me some sport themed romances especially when there is an aspect of forbidden love to it as well. Kinsley is a rising star in the soccer world and has been recruited to a top school in California and Liam Wilder is a bad boy soccer star…who just happens to be her coach. The attraction between the two is instant as is the edict that they aren’t allowed to date because of their roles on the filed. There is much torture and push and pull and the aches of the heart are huge. I just loved these two together and thought that their relationship was very realistically portrayed. I also loved the secondary characters of Becca and Penn and totally think that Grey wasted an opportunity to have a spin off book staring them.

There were things that I felt were a bit implausable though but maybe its just because I don’t really follow professional soccer. But I found it odd that Liam was constantly stalked by paparazzi and that he was always doing interviews on talk shows and things. And I also found it weird that Kinsley had to report to school 3 months early for soccer practice but again I wasn’t an athlete in college so maybe that was normal. So those aspects took me out of the story a bit as they just never rang true but the rest of the book? That I loved.

Well, with the exception of Tara who was such an evil character that I really wanted to punch her in the face. But what I did like about her was that she added a realistic conflict between Liam and Kinsley and it wasn’t a crazy made up thing that existed in the mind of one of them. All too often in contemporary stories there is this pointless drama/conflict that splits up the characters and it usually results from a lack of communication. There is no point to it all and its something that is easily solved when they finally speak about it but for whatever reason a big formula plot point in stories is that the hero and heroine need to break up before they find their HFN. *le sigh* Its a plot point that I can do without. But here in Scoring Wilder the conflict isn’t pointless and the breakup is so heart wrenchingly real that my heart aches just thinking about it.

Scoring Wilder is a fun read and I got so lost in the story that once I started reading I couldn’t stop. I am so excited to check out other books from RS Grey and have already purchased another title from her that I hope to get to soon. If you like a good romance, especially if you like the sport trope then this is a book for you. I don’t think you’ll regret it, I know I didn’t.

.

A favorite quote from Scoring Wilder:

“If only we actually were in Harry Potter. I’d totally Crucio her ass. Yeah, that’s right, I’d use one of the Unforgivable Curses. Come at me, Ministry of Magic.”

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irishdarkblue

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scoring wilder quote
four-stars
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

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

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottHeartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Published by Harlequin Teen on 28 January 2014
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): I sit down with my mother. My smile shaky as I tell her about my day.

***This review contains some spoilers so please read at your own risk***

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott is a book that I really wanted to love as I usually adore all things Elizabeth Scott. I just love Scott’s writing and the way that she can deal with some difficult issues. In Heartbeat, Scott takes on the complexities of life, death and blended families and sometimes I think she tried to do a little too much. First, there is the fact that Emma is dealing with the fact that her mother is dead and yet not dead in the sense that she’s being kept alive because she is pregnant. This leads to much stress and angst between her and her stepfather whom she used to be very close to. Add to that a potential new romance and my head is near spinning with all that is going on.

And while there is a lot going on in the story for the most part all the issues just stay on the surface. Emma runs around being an angsty teenager harping on everything and just being a royal B#$&* to the person she loved as a father and who loved her just as much in return. I think that Dan does a remarkable job dealing with Emma even if I also felt he was just a bit too passive and accepting of it. I think that he should have called her on her bullshit a lot earlier than he did. Just as I think that Emma should have been more upfront with what was really going on in her head. But then, at the same time she was every bit the teenage girl and so while Emma often bugged the crap out of me she was real.

I also liked Emma’s BFF Olivia. She was a genuine person and no matter what crap Emma pulled she was always there for her. Which helped Emma in that she was never bad to Olivia. Olivia is quirky and bubbly and in some ways reminded me of Mallory from Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt. I did have a love hate relationship though with how Emma compartmentalized her life in that she never discussed anything real with Olivia. If there was one thing that Emma excelled at in this book it was that she was great at avoiding issues. She refused to talk about anything and so the thoughts in her head just spun and spun and spun around until she near drove me mad with them.

The saving grace of Heartbeat came from Caleb, the cliched bad boy love interest. There is much typical YA love interest to be seen in Caleb and yet despite his cookie cutter mold I liked him. I liked how he made Emma see that there was more to life than just dwelling on what was. I liked that he showed her that she wasn’t alone in her thoughts and situation. That is always such a big part of overcoming anything traumatic because it helps to see that others are coping and even moving forward which means that you can too. Both Caleb and Emma really needed to find each other and so that I am glad that they did for together they can help mend the cracks even if they can’t remove them all together.

Heartbeat isn’t my favorite Elizabeth Scott novel as I just wanted more. I wished that she’d gone a little deeper in the issues she was exploring and I wish that there was real change in Emma. Her turn around from angtsy teen to full on happy(ish) and accepting girl was just so quick. So blink of the eye and there was nothing really to back it up other than a few random meetings with Caleb and one heart-to-heart with Dan. I wish there had been something more real used to help in her transformation, like regular visits to a therapist, or something that would make it be more real. Despite its flaws this is a book that I would recommend to some of my friends and I look forward to the next book that Elizabeth Scott write.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
Divider

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Play Me by Diane Alberts

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Play Me by Diane AlbertsPlay Me by Diane Alberts, Jen McLaughlin
Series: Take a Chance,
Published by Entangled Ever After on 29 Jul 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 120
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
two-stars
Also by this author: Out of Line

Place(s) traveled to: Las Vegas, Nevada

First Line: Garrett Kelly might have been a laid-back middle school math teacher by day, buy at night he was a basketball coach who yelled and cussed and fought for his team.

PLAY ME  by Diane Alberts is a book that I thought I would like based on the synopsis and the excerpt I read and and posted here on Ticket to Anywhere earlier this year. Its a friends to lovers story which are often fun and quirky and that was the sort of book I was hoping for. Instead, I got a heroine I couldn’t connect with paired with a hero that I have no idea why he was interested in the heroine. Kiersten spent much of the book with a huge chip on her shoulder and was often bitchy for the sake of being bitchy. Yes, she’d been left at the alter but seriously after “meeting” this character I don’t really blame the guy.

Garrett on the other hand was always sweet and wonderful and wanted to do the right thing when they spend a night together and Kiersten ends up pregnant. (Oy the trope!) But Kiersten makes it impossible for him to do anything. She doesn’t want anyone to know they are together and yet if he introduced her as a roommate she’d fly off the handle and be all upset. No matter what Garrett did, even when it was what Kiersten said she wanted, it was the wrong thing in her eyes. She spent the entire book yelling and being mad at him that I almost didn’t finish it. Fortunately, this was a short book and while it felt longer than it was due to all the drama it was a quick read.

In PLAY ME, the only really worthwhile characters with Garrett and his BFF Mike, who also happened to be Kiersten’s brother. In all honesty I thought that Garrett and Mike had more chemistry than he and Kiersten. The writing style of this one was also just so-so with some bad dialogue and scene transitions. I was not a fan of this story and really can’t recommend it to anyone. And just based on this one book I am unsure on if I want to read anything else by Diane Alberts either although I am interested in learning more of Mike so I may check out his story at some point. But its not something I’m going to be rushing out for.

People who liked this book better than I did:

Blogcritics: “Play Me was a very good read. Alberts is excellent at the whole friends-to-lovers thing as well as being a very skilled writer. I liked the characters, found them interesting and believable, and loved the complications and secondary characters.”

Fictional Candy: “I really fell for this story the whole way through. The writing was terrific and grabbed me right from the start. The storyline was smooth and quick moving. Everything was perfect.”

Take a Chance Series Order

Book 1: Try Me
Book 2: Love Me
Book 3: Play Me
Book 4: Take Me

irishdarkblue

two-stars
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blog Tour Review: A Risk Worth Taking Tour by Heather Hildenbrand

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

Blog Tour Review: A Risk Worth Taking Tour by Heather HildenbrandA Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand
Published by Publisher: Accendo Press on 22 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 265
Format: eARC
Source: Inkslinger PR
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Place(s) traveled to: Grayson County, Virginia

First Line(s): I looked around my bedroom at the growing pile of cardboard boxes and sighed.

When I first read the synopsis of  A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand I thought it was right up my alley. It was a contemporary new adult and seemed to include all the things that I have been craving in stories of late. Sadly though, A Risk Worth Taking, didn’t live up to my expectations and I had a hard time getting into the story.

A Risk Worth Taking is a short book but it felt long, and not in a good way. It just seemed like it took forever for something to happen and then what did happen was just sort of meh. I found Summer to be this moody emo sort of character who was way over emotional over her parents divorce and acted more like she was 12 and not 22. I liked Ford better but around Summer he was this deep and philosophical person and I much preferred him when he was hanging around Casey. Both Ford and Summer seemed more natural and human when Casey was in the mix and those were the scenes that I liked best.

A Risk Worth Taking wasn’t a bad story but I just wish that there had been more depth to it. More emotion to tug at the heart strings. Summer is all “I hate my mother” and then an event happens and she’s “Oh mom I love you so much!” The transition just didn’t seem real to me. Nor did the timeline of the story. I haven’t sat down and plotted it out but it just seemed more time passed then was actually quoted. It just felt off.

As I said above, Casey was my favorite part of the story. He was fun and just brought life to the page. He energized the story for me and without him in it this one may have ended up on the DNF pile. If Heather Hildenbrand ever writes a book that centers around Casey I am totally going to read it.

Other than that, there isn’t much that I can say for A Risk Worth Taking. For me it was a slow story with an annoying heroine. But I feel that there is an audience for this book, after all Goodreads, is filled with glowing reviews. If you are looking to give new adult a shot then maybe this one is for you, its short, doesn’t have a ton of sex scenes (and what is there aren’t adult romance descriptive), and there are good bones to the plot.

GIVEAWAY:
Heather is giving away a gift basket with a hair flower, nail polish, bracelet, and a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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BLOG TOUR PARTICIPANTS

–Wednesday, October 23rd
sofia loves books -Review Stop
Living in a Bookworld -Excerpt
Reading Rainblog -Review Stop

–Thursday, October 24th
The Phantom Paragrapher -Review Stop
Anonymous Interests -Review Stop
Contagious Reads -Review Stop

–Friday, October 25th
A Bookworm Confessions -Review Stop
Keep Calm & Read Romance -Top 10 & Review

–Saturday, October 26th
aliennation -Review Stop
Book Crazy -Review Stop

–Sunday, October 27th
Reads and Thoughts -Excerpt

–Monday, October 28th
Books Like Breathing -Review Stop
Reader Girls -Playlist
Owl Always Be Reading -Excerpt

–Tuesday, October 29th
Book Wookie -Excerpt
Ticket to Anywhere -Review Stop
The Geekery Book Review -Author Interview

-Wednesday, October 30th
Ramblings From This Chick -Guest Post
Shawna’s Survey -Excerpt
FTLOBbyJBlog -Review Stop

–Thursday, October 31st
Bibliophile Mystery -Excerpt
Stuck In YA Books -Excerpt
Magnet4books -Top 10 List

–Friday, November 1st
Paige -Excerpt
Fictional Candy -Top 10 List
Lis les Livres -Excerpt

–Saturday, November 2nd
A Life Bound By Books -Character Post & Review
read that Review Stop
BOOKS,COFFEE AND WINE -Review Stop

–Sunday, November 3rd
Rumpled Sheets Blog -Review Stop

–Monday, November 4th
TSK TSK What to Read -Excerpt
The Whispering Pages Book Blog -Review Stop

–Tuesday, November 5th
My Daily Romance -Author Interview
Jess Time To Read -Playlist
happy tails and tales -Guest Post

–Wednesday, November 6th
Paulette’s Papers -Guest Post
Madison Says -Review Stop

–Thursday, November 7th
The Book Cafe  -Review Stop
Cocktails and Books -Excerpt
Deal Sharing Aunt -Top 10 List

–Friday, November 8th
The Autumn Review -Review Stop
SassyCat’s Books Review -Guest Post
Stories and Swag -Review Stop

–Saturday, November 9th
Booked On Romance -Review Stop
Books Over Boys -Top 10 List
Hardcover Therapy -Review Stop

–Sunday, November 10th
I Read Indie -Author Interview
Above Average Below Special -Review Stop

–Monday, November 11th
Starbucks & Books Obsession -Review Stop
Booklovers LaceyCat -Review Stop
Wolfel’s World of Books -Top 10 List
Charlotte’s Tangled Web of Books -Review Stop

–Tuesday, November 12th
Pete de violet -Review Stop
Lovin’ Los Libros -Review Stop
Crim Reviews -Excerpt

–Wednesday, November 13th
Globug and Hootie Need a Book -Review Stop
Reading Bliss -Review Stop
Winding Stairs Book Blog -Review Stop
NightlyReading -Excerpt

–Thursday, November 14th
Paperbook Princess -Review Stop
The Reading Cow -Review Stop
Always YA at Heart -Review Stop
Bound By Books Book Review -Excerpt

–Friday, November 15th
Book Addict Mumma -Review Stop
Everything But the Books -Dream Cast
Hackaroo’s Reviews -Excerpt

three-stars
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Audio Review: Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Contest, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Audio Review: Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin DionneMoxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Series: 14 Day Mystery,
Published by Brilliance Audio on 11 July 2013
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective
Length: 6 hours 21 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

 

Place(s) Traveled to:  Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You know that line about being “saved by the bell?”  Well, its a lie.

14 Day Mystery  Series Order:
Book 1 – Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking
Book 2 – Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting
Book 3 – Untitled

Anyone who has spent any real length of time in Massachusetts, and probably New England, has heard about the art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. If not, then just click here to read all the details. Its such a fascinating and baffling case that will most likely remain unsolved and so I was so excited to hear that Erin Dionne was writing a book about it. Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking is a great what if book based on the whole Gardner Museum heist and Boston’s infamous gangster history. In Moxie, her grandfather used to do side jobs for the mob using his carpentry skills to hide hot pieces until the heat wore off and the goods could be more easily moved. He was hired to hide the stolen pieces from the Gardner Museum and then he never told the ones that pulled off the crime where they were.

Years pass and now Moxie finds herself confronted with an emissary from Sully Cupcakes (the art thief) who tells her that she has just 2 weeks to find and give the pieces over to Sully…or else. Moxie is a feisty and head-strong girl and so she dives into this mystery head first and if truth be told not always looking where she is going first. Fortunately, she has her BFF Ollie to help her out and help to keep her grounded as the pressure starts to mount. I loved the friendship between Moxie and Ollie and I loved how while they didn’t always get along they always knew deep down that they were the very best of friends who would do anything for the other. Even if those things involved a little breaking and entering.

Moxie is smart and funny and I loved how she used logic and a math proof to help her work through figuring out the mystery. Even if the whole math proof portion of the story made my eye twitch a little….I love math…but proofs…I was never a fan. lol I also loved how close Moxie was to her mom and grandparents. Her relationship with them was so realistic…even when she was keeping secrets and sneaking around. I enjoyed how Moxie is at that age where she’s still young and innocent but is also starting to become a young adult and gain new freedoms – like the ability to head into Town (aka Boston with only her BFF) – and how she is also starting to test those rules and see how much she can get away with. Then dealing with the consequences when she gets caught. I do love a book with consequences.

The mystery itself was a bit unrealistic at times as I don’t see two kids being able to do all the things that they did in the story. On the other hand though, it was fast paced and fun and if I suspended belief a bit then it did feel real. The only way to know for sure would be to try and break in to Fenway or the State House on my own…but as I am not as coordinated as Moxie then I don’t think I’ll be trying that out anytime soon. lol

Another fun thing that I loved about Moxie was Dionne’s use of vocabulary words. She doesn’t talk down to her intended audience and works in big and semi-complicated words in a way that doesn’t make it seem like you are learning anything. She not only tosses them into the dialogue and inner monologue but she works in the definition is a clean, non-info dump kind of way. Which for me, took away from the horrors that the memory of math proofs brought to mind.

Moxie was a really fun book with a quick and easy mystery that really sweeps the reader along. The characters are all realistic and they make you wish that they were real so that you could know them in real life. I’m excited that there will be more mysteries to come that feature Ollie and Moxie as I hated for this book to end. This was a fun read and one that I think young teens and adults can both enjoy.

About the Narrator:

Amy McFadden was a new narrator to me and I really enjoyed the style that she used for Moxie. She managed to do a Boston accent in such a way that made me believe she was from the heart of the city. All too often I am left cringing a bit when someone does a Boston accent as its just so over the top. There were times when it was hard to tell who was speaking when but overall I think McFadden did a good job telling this story. This may have been the first time I listened to a book narrated by McFadden but I don’t think will be the last.

Contest:

Enter to win a signed hardcover copy of Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne. US/Canada only.

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irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

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

Review: How to Love by Katie CotugnoHow to Love by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on 01 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 405
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Place(s) traveled to: Broward, Florida

First Line(s): I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I find him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.

When I first read the synopsis of How to Love by Katie Cotugno I was intrigued. I love stories that cover both the past and the present and enjoy getting that complete picture of a story. In the case of How to Love, each chapter alternates between the before and the after. Before, Reena was a typical teenager in love with a boy who just happened to be dating her best friend. After, Reena was a teen mom and the baby’s daddy had skipped town when she got pregnant and he’s only just returned. The boy in question is the same, Sawyer and he had to the potential to be this complicated character but in the end he never quite lived up to what he could have been. The same can also be said for How to Love as a whole.

While I did enjoy How to Love I just felt that it lacked depth. There were many questions that were never fully addressed and many others that were just glossed over. Reena in the time After was a bit of a mary sue allowing everyone around her to walk over her and treat her like she was less than she was. Reena in the Before had so much potential and had such big plans that when things feel through do to the unexpected pregnancy those around her treated her horrible. Especially the ones that should have loved and supported her the most. If it wasn’t for Aaron and Shelby I fear she may have spun out of control.

Another area where this book lost me was in the YA cliche of the BFF who really isn’t. In How to Love Reena ends up with two of these, first there is Allie, who knows how much Reena likes Sawyer but dates him anyway. Then gets all high and mighty and so very bitchtastic when Reena eventually calls her out on it and then BAM no more BFF. In the After, Reena has become good friends with Shelby and on the surface Shelby is a true friend. But that is when Reena is dating her twin brother, Aaron. When Sawyer returns and starts to get between Aaron and Reena (they do share a baby and a complicated history) Shelby goes a bit bitchtastic and Reena suffers for it.

*le sigh*

While I don’t agree with some of Reena’s actions I do understand them and I am glad that it is with Sawyer’s return that she finally starts to grow a spine. Though I do wish she’d done with without breaking hearts along the way as while I understood the draw of Sawyer in the Before I didn’t get it in the After. I think that Reena was just too accepting of things there and really wish there were more answers on why he left and more importantly why he returned.

I did like the writing style of Katie Cotugno and do plan on reading more books of hers in the future. Though I don’t think that I will be rushing to read her next book.

 

irishdarkblue
three-stars
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Sweet by Erin McCarthy

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review4 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Sweet by Erin McCarthySweet by Erin McCarthy
Series: True Believers, Book 2
Also in this series: True, Believe, Shatter
Published by Berkley Books on 15 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 257
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: True, Believe, Shatter, You Make Me

 

Place(s) traveled to: Cincinnati, Ohio

First Line(s): I couldn’t go home for the summer. I just couldn’t.

Related Post(s): Interview with Erin McCarthy (Post goes live on 25 Oct) // Quotably Yours: Sweet

True Believers Series Order:
Book 1: True
Book 2: Sweet
Book 3: Believe (07 Jan 2014)
Book 4: Untitled

As soon as I finished True by Erin McCarthy I wanted to dive into Sweet, its companion/sequel as I wasn’t ready to leave the Mann brothers. I was also excited to learn more about Jessica and Riley, especially since these two did not like each other…at all when they first met. Due to a crazy set of circumstances Jessica ends up spending some time crashing at the Mann house in order to avoid going home for the summer. With Tyler and Rory off doing coupley summertime things there is no real buffer between Jessica and Riley. For a portion of the book it is unclear on if these two will fall madly in love…or kill each other. Just when you think one or the other will happen they go and do something to surprise you.

There is so much chemistry between Jessica and Riley that it just sizzles off the page. This is shown through their actions and their there conversations and not by jumping into bed every other paragraph. Riley and Jessica are both guarded in their emotions and are more likely to trade insults than anything else and as the reader you get to sit back and watch it all unfurl. I loved each and every interaction they had as they might say that they didn’t want to do x but then the very next day the one who said that would be doing whatever that task was with no complaint…or not much of one. What Sweet does well is to show that actions really do speak louder than words especially when it comes to this volatile couple learning how to be a couple.

It was also fun learning more about the younger Mann brothers and even more about Robin, who will be featured in the next book Believe. Although I really did miss having Rory and Tyler around. I think if they had been in the story this would have been a 5 star read for me. But as it was, their absence felt like a gaping hole. Even if it was necessary for them to be away as if Tyler was around then Jessica wouldn’t have had a place to crash and there would not have been a story to tell. Sometimes things happen for a reason even when you don’t like what that reason is.

Overall, I loved how sweet and fun this story was. Riley and Jessica are dealing with some very real and separate issues and they are as different as oil and water. And yet, despite all their difference they mix very well together and they beat all the odds that are stacked against them. I devoured this book and I was so sad when it came to an end. I was not ready to leave this world or this family and though I know that Robin’s story is coming I just don’t think it will be the same as this one. I didn’t really like Robin much, she was ok, but there was nothing about her that made me want to know more. Although I do feel bad for her and am curious to see how she deals with the fallout of what she did.

If you are looking for some fun new adult stories then you should really check out this series. Its all about the romance and not about the sexy times as many new adult reads seem to be these days. Erin McCarthy has a real gift with creating real stories with characters that could be your BFF if they were real. With every story she writes I get lost in her world and feel all the things. I know that this series will probably be one that I revisit from time to time as Jessica, Rory and the Mann family are all dear friends and I don’t think that I will tire of their stories.

Click here to see some of my favorite quotes from Sweet

irishdarkblue
four-stars
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