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Posts Tagged: Publisher: Berkely Books

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Rookie Move Quote

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

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

irishdarkblue

IR - Rookie Move

Add Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson to Goodreads.

Add Fair Play by Deirdre Martin to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Kings Rising by CS PacatKings Rising by CS Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit
Published by Berkley Books on 02 February 16
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Fortaine, Vere // Kingsmeet, Akielos // Ios, Akielos

First Line(s): ‘Damianos.’ Damen stood at the base of the dais steps as his name spread in tones of shock and disbelief over the courtyard.

I am not entirely sure what to say in this review of KINGS RISING by CS Pacat that hasn’t already been said. How do I add to the gush fest that I wrote of the first two books in this series? How do I accurately sum up just how amazing this whole series was and all the feels it made me feel? There really aren’t words for me to use to fully describe this book or at least none adequate enough as I still have trouble speaking coherently about this book. I picked up KINGS RISING immediately after finishing PRINCE’S GAMBIT (my review) because I couldn’t wait another second before knowing what happened next. Especially with how PRINCE’S GAMBIT ended!! Secrets have been revealed and that is just the start of all the crazy twists and turns in this book.

Damen and Laurent have slowly been coming together and Damen’s secret could be the thing that finally breaks them. The final journey of these two is just so heartachingly good!! There are few couples in the book world that have effected me as much as Damen and Laurent have. Their romance is a slow burn filled with secrets and mistrust and eventually nothing but hope and love. It takes three books to get them there but oh what a journey it was to bring them to those final moments!! The Captive Prince series is such a roller coaster of emotion but oh my stars I would give anything to experience this read for the first time again. There is nothing like that first read where you have no idea what is waiting for you with each turn of the page and Pacat definitely excels at building up the suspense!!

Kings Rising Quote

Oh Pacat does still use her fancy $3 words but I didn’t care about that as much in this book as the others because I kind of thought that KINGS RISING might be the book that would kill me. (Spoiler: it didn’t…but it came close!). KINGS RISING really put my heart through the ringer and despite all my hopes I wasn’t sure that it would end the way I wanted to. This made my read of it complete torture but I wouldn’t change that ride for anything because the emotional investment in a story is part of what I love about reading. I totally lost myself for the hours it took me to read this book. I was Damen and Laurent and all the side characters. I wasn’t in my apartment reading in bed but right there on the battlefield wondering who I could trust and who would betray me next.

While PRINCE’S GAMBIT is probably my favorite in the series KINGS RISING is a close second. I read the two so close together that its hard to separate them at times. All I know is that I went into CAPTIVE PRINCE thinking that I would hate the books and I almost cried when I turned the last page of KINGS RISING because it was over. The end of a series is so hard especially when it was such an emotional read but as I’ve said I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. If you know me, you know that I don’t gush about a ton of books. I recommend a ton but I’m not a gusher. This series though, this series totally makes me gush, and for that reason alone you should give it a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I know I didn’t.

 

 

Kings Rising Thoughts

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. PacatPrince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince, Book 2
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Captive Prince

Place(s) Traveled To: Chastillion, Vere // Fortain, Vere // Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Marlas, Vere

First Line(s): The shadows were long with sunset when they rode up, and the horizon was red.

After finishing CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat (my review) I couldn’t get the story out of my head so had to get my hands on the second book in the series, PRINCE’S GAMBIT. PRINCE’S GAMBIT picks up right where CAPTIVE PRINCE ends and is filled with even more tension and political intrigue. It’s also in PRINCE’s GAMBIT where the romance between Laurent and Damen really starts to heat up. Though this series is still what I’d call a slow burn in the romance department. There are no grand declarations in this book but lots of forays into what is to come and of course drama and tension. But not crazy over the top drama or angst. Everything about PRINCE’S GAMBIT is real, raw and organic and I just couldn’t put this book down!! I loved the push and pull between Damen and Laurent as they worked together against the Regent and also worked toward forging a bond.

In CAPTIVE PRINCE, you learn that Laurent has essentially been on his own and had to keep his own council since the day that his father and older brother were killed. He doesn’t trust easily and there are still so many secrets between Laurent and Damen so you know that shit is about to get real before these two can find a happily ever after. As I mentioned about, the tension is off the hook in PRINCE’S GAMBIT and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next. The political intrigue that is the baseline of the story really hits its stride as events that were started in CAPTIVE PRINCE start to unfold. Laurent, as usual, always seems to be several steps ahead of the rest and yet there are still some things that take him by surprise which makes for much edge of your seat reading.

Prince's Gambit Quote

I totally fell in love with this story and liked it even more than CAPTIVE PRINCE. I stayed up late to read it with my heart racing for much of the last half of the book. Not that this book has a ton of crazy action to it, because it doesn’t, but the political drama and of course the growing relationship between Laurent and Damen really sucks the reader in. Although, the super big fancy words that Pacat is so found of did distract a bit from the story. Using words like expostulation in place of protest just seemed so unnecessary and while I do hate when books are dumbed down there is such a thing as trying to hard to sound smart. I think that this series could have stood just as strong with words more commonly used than some of the word choices that Pacat makes.

Overall though, I loved PRINCE’S GAMBIT and found it even more compelling that CAPTIVE PRINCE. I was hooked from word one and am so glad that I decided to give this series a shot. Its such a heart achy read and has defied all of my expectations. Its so rare for a hyped up book to live up to the hype for me and this series is one of those few that make the cut. When I finished PRINCE’S GAMBIT I was DYING for KINGS RISING because I just couldn’t wait to see how the series ended. This is definitely one series where you’ll want to have access to all the books before starting because the cliff hangers between each are killer!!

 

irishdarkblue IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

four-stars
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Prince's Gambit, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 April 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Survival Stories
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Also by this author: Prince's Gambit

Place(s) Traveled To: Ios, Akielos // Arles, Vere

First Line(s): Damen came back to himself in stages, his drugged limbs heavy against the silk cushions, the gold cuffs on his wrists like lead weights.

When I first heard about CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat  prior to its release by Berkley Books I didn’t think it was a book for me and so promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to a year later and it seemed like I couldn’t get away from mention of this series in all my social media from a variety of readers. I then decided to look into CAPTIVE PRINCE further and requested a copy from my library to read. Regular readers know that I’m usually really wary of hyped up books and that was the case with CAPTIVE PRINCE and yet its because of the hype that had me curious to know more. The story is told from the POV of Damen who is the Crown Prince of Akielos who is captured and sent into a life of slavery by his own half-brother who has overthrown the kingdom. To increase tensions the place where Damen is sent is to Akielos’s rival nation and he’s given to Prince Laurent, whose older brother Damen killed years earlier during a war between the nations.

Tension abounds in CAPTIVE PRINCE and I have to admit that I was enthralled with this novel. The political intrigue was gripping and tensions were high. I loved Damen’s voice and really felt for the situation that he found himself in. I was also really drawn to Laurent, who reminded me a lot of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Like Gen, Laurent is always several steps ahead of everyone and is an expert at holding his cards to his chest and in pretending to be something he’s not. I loved how these two interacted together as they started to feel each other out and while there is no real romance in CAPTIVE PRINCE you can see the seeds being set for the romance that is to come. But first both Damen and Laurent must go through some personal journeys and deal with some hard truths before they can get to their HEA.

Captive Prince Quote

Another thing that I liked about CAPTIVE PRINCE was the world building. Pacat created a rich and vibrant world that was easy to visualize throughout the story. I loved how she set up the various kingdoms and how distinct they were. I also liked how vivid the tensions were between Akielos and Vere which were also reflected in the tensions between Damen and Laurent. Although, I will admit that there were some things that happened in the court of Vere that I did not care for. There was a rape culture that existed that just made me uncomfortable and I rushed to get through one scene in particular. I also felt that CAPTIVE PRINCE was well written although Pacat seemed to have a fondness for big fancy words that were often unnecessary where a normal word would do. I pride myself on my vocabulary but there were times that I was glad to be reading CAPTIVE PRINCE on my kindle as it was easy to look some words up.

CAPTIVE PRINCE isn’t a perfect book and its not a book for everyone but I for one enjoyed the story. As I said, I didn’t think that it was going to be for me but in the end I was really glad that I gave it a shot as I really liked the overall story even as there were things here and there that I didn’t not care for. CAPTIVE PRINCE was a book that took me by surprise and then stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Its a compelling read and one where I was glad to have easy access to the second and third books of this series because once I finished CAPTIVE PRINCE I wanted to jump into the other books immediately. This is definitely a book that I’ll be re-reading in the future as I just fell in love with the main characters and their story. And I think that many of you will as well if you just give it a shot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog. 

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Whisper to Me by Christina Lee

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, New Adult, Review3 Comments

Review: Whisper to Me by Christina LeeWhisper to Me by Christina Lee
Series: Between Breaths,
Also in this series: All of You, Before You Break, Promise Me This, There You Stand
Published by Berkley Books on 20 May 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult
Pages: 228
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: All of You, Before You Break, Promise Me This, There You Stand

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Tennessee

First Line(s): Scientists say that we’re all made of pieces of stars.

Whisper to Me by Christina Lee is the third book in her Between Breaths series which involves a group of college friends. While I liked the first two books in the series I didn’t love them and the one friend I cared about least was Rachel who is the heroine of this book. Initially I thought I was going to hate this book and I thought about not even reading it. But then I read the synopsis and learned that Rachel was going home for the summer and that her story may not be anything like we’d been lead to believe in the previous books. Previously Rachel is a carefree, over the top party girl that didn’t seem to have much substance but that isn’t all that she is. Before college Rachel was very different and before college there was a tragic incident in her past that put her in the hospital and everything she though she knew had changed.

Returning home isn’t easy for Rachel as she’s changed a lot in the time she’s been away and she’s become more than the girl from the accident. The girl whose boyfriend left her when she needed him most but there is a part of her that is still the same. Its the part that loved her friends Dakota and her brother Kai both of who she’s been avoiding and lying to about her college self. Just as she hasn’t been fully honest with her college friends about her past. Its hard keeping secrets from those you love and this is a constant struggle with Rachel. Its a part of her that makes her a bit elusive and stand offish at the start of this book but as secrets are revealed I grew to really like Rachel.

I grew to admire her for who she was and look beyond the surface of who she portrayed. I also loved her relationship with Kai. Oh my stars the feels that this book made me feel with these two! Such a heart achy read and found I couldn’t stop reading as their story progressed as I just wanted to see if they’d work past their obstacles and find a way to be together. Rachel and Kai had always been friends but taking things to the next level isn’t always easy and there are hurdles that get tossed in their path. But I do love a good friends to lovers story and this has all the things I love about such a trope and more. I also really liked how we got to see both Rachel and Kai’s points of view as it can really help to flesh out a story and make it feel real.

Whisper to Me is a book that I didn’t think I’d like and in the end its a book that is my favorite in the series and also one that I will re-read. I loved the chemistry between Kai and Rachel and I loved how much the title fits in with the story. This is such a swoon worthy book that I wish I could read it against for the first time. Its a quick, fun, new adult romance that I can’t recommend enough. There is much to love in this book and I hope that if you read it you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

 

irishdarkblue

 

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Whisper to me Quote

four-stars
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Taking a Shot by Jaci BurtonTaking a Shot by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play,
Also in this series: The Perfect Play, Changing the Game
Published by Berkley Books on 06 March 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 309
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Perfect Play, Changing the Game

Place(s) Traveled To: St Louis, Missouri

First Line(s): Jenna Riley wanted nothing to do with sports.

Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton is the third book in her Play by Play series and involves Jenna Riley who is the younger sister of Gavin and Mick whose stories were told in the previous two books. Jenna has been around sports her entire life and has a hard fast rule of not dating any professional athletes. This makes dating hard as she runs her family’s sports bar and it tends to host a lot of the players from the local teams. Including Tyler Anderson who is on St Louis’s hockey team and who has also taken a shine to Jenna. He likes her unique look and her stand off attitude.

Overall, I enjoyed Jenna and Tyler’s story though for the life of me I don’t know why Tyler put up with Jenna for as long as he did. She had such a huge chip on her shoulder and her arguments for denying her attraction to Ty were weak. There was no deep dark secret past where she was really hurt by someone in the sports industry either professionally or romantically. And when all signs point to how perfect Tyler seemed to be for her she was a fool to try and push that away. I also felt that Jenna was too passive with her family. She just let them walk over her and she really should have been more open about the things that she really wanted in life. Instead she never persisted and just pushed all her dreams aside in order to support those of her brothers and her parents. This made me feel sad for her.

I did like that Tyler wasn’t a jerk or an ass of an alpha male. He was genuine and real and I liked his personality. When Jenna wasn’t wearing that chip on her shoulder I felt that they fit well together but she just kept me from fully immersing myself into the story. I also didn’t mind Elizabeth as much in this book as I did in the previous two. She seems to be mellowing as the series movies forward but I did still prefer the scenes where she was not present. Same goes for Mick and Gavin as Jenna just became less of herself when they were around and I never liked that side of her.

As with the previous Play by Play stories, Taking a Shot, was a quick read and I read it in no time. The sex scenes are hot and probably a bit overdone. I like Jaci Burton’s stories but they are a but on the formulaic side so I think that spacing them out is the way to go with them.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Wild Child by M. Leighton

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

Review: Wild Child by M. LeightonWild Child by M. Leighton
Series: The Wild Ones,
Also in this series: Some Like it Wild
Published by Berkley Books on 21 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, New Adult, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 126
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Down to You, Up to Me, Everything For Us, Some Like it Wild

Place(s) Traveled To: Greenfield, South Carolina

First Line(s): “No sex before the wedding. For me and Trick. Or for you and Rusty,” Cami says.

I really liked Jenna and Rusty when we met them in The Wild Ones so was really looking forward to Wild Child by M. Leighton. At first I was sad that this was just a novella and not a full story but as these two got together as a couple in The Wild Ones I thought that maybe a novella was fitting. I was a little disappointed in Wild Child as it wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. I thought that this would be told in parallel to The Wild Ones and maybe go a little further but instead it picks up a few months later and Rusty and Jenna have barely spoken since Jenna went back to school.

This does not bode well for their future as a couple especially since both assume that the other doesn’t see the relationship going anywhere so they do all sorts of little things to sabotage things. There is so much inner angst that goes on in the heads of these main characters and I can’t even begin to tell you how often I yelled at the book that they needed to just talk to each other. If they had a legit conversation then this novella would have been about half the size. So instead they read into things what they want to see, react to that fiction they create, and cause all sorts of unnecessary drama.

How Jenna and Rusty manage to work through it all is a total mystery because somehow despite all the bullshit they do manage to have a fairly stable relationship. I liked how they were together and thought that they had real chemistry. I also liked how we got in some decent cameos from Cami and Trick as well as a glimpse at their wedding. Just the wedding alone would have been a fine background for this story but to keep it simple really isn’t in M. Leighton’s make-up (just look at the crazy that was her Bad Boys Series) so on top of the wedding there is a car accident, a big family death, and a property fight.

So much stuffs going on is such a time volume that it all seems overly full. Which is why not all of it gets resolved in this story and threads will leak into other books in this series. Though as an introduction to Some Like it Wild this one doesn’t do the best of jobs as the main characters of that book are barely in this one. While I’m not entirely sure on my enjoyment on future books in this series I will still continue to read them. This series is far more realistic and less crazy than that other Leighton series I read so I have hopes that I will like future books.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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