Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Posts Tagged: Social Issues

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review: His Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: His Royal Favorite by Lilah PaceHis Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace
Series: His Royal Secret, Book 2
Also in this series: His Royal Secret
Published by Intermix on 16 August 2016
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance, Royalty, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 245
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: His Royal Secret

Place(s) Traveled To: Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya // London, England

First Line(s): “Fiona, it’s Ben.” Thank God he’d gotten her machine.

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE is the direct sequel to Lilah Pace’s HIS ROYAL SECRET (my review.) I’m usually wary of direct sequels as I hate to have manufactured drama break up a couples hard won happily ever after just to bring them back together again. But I also found that I couldn’t resist the temptation that HIS ROYAL FAVORITE presented so I found myself not only picking it up but then staying up into the wee hours of the morning just to finish it. I was hooked on this story from the very first page and I just loved the progression of Ben and James’s story. I also loved how HIS ROYAL FAVORITE showed a real relationship at work as that is something that is usually missing in romance novels.

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE deals with the very real aftershocks of James coming out of the closet and Ben has to decide if a public life is a life that he can accept. There are struggles for them both as they deal with their new relationship, family, and the onslaught of public opinion. New relationships can be hard enough but they become exponentially harder when they are lived in the public eye. Especially when you don’t know who is a true friend and who might sell your secrets just for a little cash and 15 minutes of fame. My heart totally ached throughout this book because it was just so real and I hated some of the things that Ben and James had to deal with.

his-royal-favorite-quote

But what I loved most about HIS ROYAL FAVORITE is that there was no pointless breakup!! And while there was angst it wasn’t unnecessary or over done and everything just really worked for the story. I truly hated for HIS ROYAL FAVORITE to come to an end because it just hit all the right notes for me. HIS ROYAL FAVORITE isn’t a perfect book but it was compelling and held my attention. It had me cheering on this couple wanting them to overcome the obstacles in front of them and come out stronger on the other side. For me, HIS ROYAL FAVORITE was a total page turner and I couldn’t stop reading until I hit the final page.

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE will take you on an emotional roller coaster but at the end of the ride you’ll heave a happy say and want to make the journey all over again. I loved this story and I can’t say it enough how much I loved seeing a couple be a couple. I always feel a little cheated when it takes an entire book to get a couple to get together just to have it end before we experience their HEA. In HIS ROYAL FAVORITE, Pace gives that extra look into this world and I am so happy that she did. This series was just so sweet and lovely and its perfect for all fans of a good love story. Doubly good if you like books with a royal twist (and seriously who doesn’t like to read about a literal prince charming?) If you trust me at all then you’ll want to have this series on your radar.

Seriously friends….go buy it now!

irishdarkblue IR - His Royal Secret

 

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

Add Us by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: His Royal Secret by Lilah PaceHis Royal Secret by Lilah Pace
Series: His Royal Secret,
Also in this series: His Royal Favorite
Published by Intermix on 19 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 185
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: His Royal Favorite

Place(s) Traveled To: Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya // Cape Town, South Africa // London, England // Gurness Holm, Scotland (2012)

First Line(s): James’s private landline rang.

When I first heard about HIS ROYAL SECRET by Lilah Pace I thought it was going to be such a me book and so eagerly accepted it for review. Before I picked up HIS ROYAL SECRET I decided to read another book by her, ASKING FOR IT and I was worried as I just couldn’t finish that book. I was wary when I finally picked up HIS ROYAL SECRET but I shouldn’t have been because it was everything that I was hoping it would be. HIS ROYAL SECRET is a short book (185 pgs per Goodreads) and so should have been a quick read but for whatever reason it took me far longer to finish than it should have. And its not for lack of reading because once I started I had a hard time putting this one down.

I am a sucker for royalty stories and secret romances and HIS ROYAL SECRET had both of those tropes in spades. James and Ben have such an intense connection that I was cheering them on throughout the book wanting them to get they HEA that they both so deeply deserved. HIS ROYAL SECRET is also filled with complex and wonderful secondary characters and my main complaint with them was that they weren’t featured enough! I would have loved to see more of the Queen, of Cass, of Indigo, of Roberto, of….well you get the picture. But I also loved all the warm moments between James and Ben and watching them get closer as they carried on their secret romance out of the public eye.

His Royal Secret Quote

HIS ROYAL SECRET had a few ups and downs and it dragged a little in the middle but over all this was a book that kept me invested. I stayed up well well well past my bedtime on a work night in order to finish it. I also liked that HIS ROYAL SECRET has an ending which I wasn’t expecting since there is a direct sequel, HIS ROYAL FAVORITE (Goodreads), so I feared a crazy dramatic cliff hanger that would tear my poor heart in two! So if you decide to not read HIS ROYAL FAVORITE I think you’ll be happy but at the same time I was so glad to have a copy of it because I desperately wanted more of these characters.

This is a book that lived up to my expectations and I know that its one that I plan on recommending to many and one that I will also reread. James and Ben were real and vivid characters and their whole story was plausible. I loved the royal backdrop that this one had and the added complications it gave to James and Ben’s romance. I loved how these two dealt with those pressures, among other issues, and worked together to overcome them. I adored that HIS ROYAL SECRET didn’t have any pointless breakups or unnecessary angst. It was a wonderful heartachy read and I think that you should all rush over to your favorite e-reatailer and pick this one up today!! Go on….go! You won’t regret it.

irishdarkblue

IR - His Royal Secret

 

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

Add Us by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
Divider

Friday, July 1, 2016

Review: Deeper by Robin York

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

Review: Deeper by Robin YorkDeeper by Robin York
Series: Caroline & West,
Published by Bantam on 28 January 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Putnam, Iowa // Ankeny, Iowa

First Line(s): Sometimes I hate the girl I was back then.

 

DEEPER by Robin York is a book that came to me highly recommended by a few different people. But once I saw there was no HEA and that the story continued in another book I was a bit hesitant to try it. I like my romance stories to be contained in one book and I most definitely like there to be a HEA. While I found DEEPER to be a quick read it hasn’t been a very memorable one. And my one Goodreads note, at 68%, declares West to be an asshole. This, ladies and gentleman, is the love interest. If he’s not a super likable character at 68% then how am I to be invested that he and his lady love, Caroline, are meant to be?? Caroline and West are your typical New Adult trope characters. She’s the goody goody rich girl that everyone loves and he’s the ultimate bad boy that she’s warned to stay away from. But there are sparks the moment they meet and while they don’t speak for years they both secretly lust after each other.

Then when Caroline’s super perfect (on paper at least) boyfriend, the golden boy of her high school and the guy her daddy adores doesn’t like that she broke up with him he lashes out. He posts intimate pictures of Caroline and posts her personal information (address, email, phone, etc) on-line like the true dickhead he is all while pretending it wasn’t him and that he’s shocked and upset and they should totally get back together. Everyone on campus of course can’t see that he did something wrong and she’s slut shamed and harassed on every level. Renege porn is a real and terrifying thing and I think that York handled that aspect of the story well. But I hated how everyone blamed Caroline for it, even her own father, and of course only West saw the crime of it which brings the two closer together.

Deeper Quote

Then things happen, there is drama and angst and all the new adult book cliches that you would expect. DEEPER is filled with ALL THE TROPES and then to go through all of that and not get a HEA?? Ugh. No. Not a fan. There is also nothing truly memorable about this book. Before starting my review I had to go and read reviews written by others on Goodreads because I was drawing such a blank as to what happened in this story. The only thing I really remembered was the whole revenge porn aspect. Other than that this story did not stick. Which, for me, is never a good sign for a book because me plot recall is usually pretty good. As such I’m not sure that I’ll read the sequel, HARDER (seriously NA please come up with better titles!!! You do your genre a disservice.)

I think that I just expected more from DEEPER because of all the hype and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. For a story that spans two books I wanted to be wowed and filled with an eager expectation to see what happened next. But in all honesty I really don’t care if Caroline and West ever find their HEA. I’m not invested in them enough as a couple for that. And despite being told over and over I’m just not sure that I believe in their romance. Yes, they lust after each other but as people I’m not sure just how well they mesh or believe that they’ll work in the long term. There were parts of DEEPER that were good but they just weren’t enough so in the end I was just meh on this one.

irishdarkblue

IR - Deeper

 

Add Revenge Bound by Heidi Joy Tretheway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All the Rage by Courtney Summers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

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

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth RevisShades of Earth by Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe,
Published by Razorbill on 15 January 2013
Genres: Abduction, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 369
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Violent Ends

Place(s) Traveled To: Centauri Earth

First Line(s): “Wait,” I say, my heart clenching.

SHADES OF EARTH is the thrilling conclusion to Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy. Its a book that has been living on Mt TBR for way longer than it should have been but better late than never, right? As always, I enjoyed Revis’s writing style. She has a gift of world building and writing engaging prose that keeps the reader engaged and wanted more. Like all the books in the series its a quick read but its one that I didn’t enjoy as much as the others in the series. I think that’s because in SHADES OF EARTH Revis introduces a love triangle and I am so not a fan of love triangles. Granted this one is minor in comparison to others I’ve read but its still a nuisance because I have loved how the relationship between Amy and Elder has progressed over the course of these three books.

I also really didn’t like Amy’s father. My stars he was such an asshole! I hated how he wouldn’t listen to Amy or Elder despite all the knowledge and experience that they had gained about the Godspeed, the people on it and the planet they landed on. I didn’t like how her father kept trying to make things be how they would have been back on Earth and how he couldn’t seem to accept the changes that had happened over the course of the journey while he and the other Earthens were asleep. Although he did remind me a bit of the adults on the CW show The 100 when the ARC first crashed back on Earth and how they wanted to keep treating Clark and company as the children they wanted them to be and now as the capable adults circumstances forced them to be.

Shades of Earth Quote

SHADES OF EARTH also introduced a bit of WTF-ery into the story and so it lost me a bit there near the end. Overall though I was satisfied how this series finished up but I do think that Revis stretched believably a little too far with some of the choices that she made. Though things could defiantly have gone far far worse so I have grown to accept and care for on how Revis decided to end things as she did.  As I said above Revis can write and she brings that gift of words throughout this entire series and I am glad that I finally picked SHADES OF EARTH up in order to finish it.

If you like sci-fi adventure stories that contain a little romance and mystery then you should probably pick up Revis’s Across the Universe series. Its a fast paced series and one that I don’t think that people talk about enough. I’m glad to have read it and my only real regret is that I didn’t get to SHADES OF EARTH sooner than I did. But then again I do so hate when a series ends so that probably didn’t help matters. But you, dear reader, may not have that problem. So go forth and grab these three great reads today!

irishdarkblue

IR - Shades of Earth

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Aime Kaufman to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

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
Divider

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

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

Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo CousinsNothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: Bend or Break, Book 2
Also in this series: Off Campus
Published by Samhain Publishing on 03 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 249
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Off Campus

Place(s) Traveled To: Colchester Falls, Iowa // Carlisle, Massachusetts

First Line(s): The girl whose nonstop monologue about intersectionality and film had kept him company for eleven hundred miles – from the East Coast all the way to the cornfields of Iowa – kicked him to the vurb in the pre-dawn hours, duffel bag at his feet, banjo case strapped across his back.

NOTHING LIKE PARIS is the second book in Amy Jo Cousins’s Bend or Break series and stars a secondary character from the first book, Jake. Jake was a bit of a bully in the last book and despite the reasons he thought he had the school has a low tolerance for bullies and he’s put on probation and might be kicked out. As a result he heads back to the small town where he is from feeling as though all his hopes and dreams are over and not sure where he will go from there. When he returns home he runs into his old boyfriend, Miguel. The two have some issues to work out but from the moment that their paths cross again there is chemistry. For the most part I liked their relationship and story better than OFF CAMPUS (my review) but I still had some issues with it.

Most especially with all the derogatory comments about Community Colleges. Miguel is a small business owner taking classes to get a degree and Jake kind of shits all over that. Jake thinks it would be better for Miguel to go to his big fancy school and that it was the only way for Miguel to live his dreams. But it seemed like Miguel was living his dream and that the only thing that was missing was someone to love and share that with. It seriously went up my butt sideways though all the horrible comments made on Community Colleges. Community Colleges can make for a great stepping stone to a four year college and they have some tougher and more challenging curriculums than some four year universities. Credits and that Associates degree are also transferable so I hated the implication that NOTHING LIKE PARIS gave that they weren’t, that the time Miguel spent at a Community College was wasted and he’d have to start from scratch at a four year university if he transferred to one. *hulk smash*

Nothing Like Paris Quote

My issues with how Cousins deals with Community Colleges aside, and when I strip away my ragey feelings, I did enjoy NOTHING LIKE PARIS. I have always had a soft spot for second chance romance stories and NOTHING LIKE PARIS did hit all the right notes there. I loved traveling though Jake and Miguel’s journey as their story made my heart ache. I was cheering for them all the way through to their happily ever after. Though I do wish that there had been a little bit more from that ending which felt a little inconclusive to me. Although maybe we’ll get mentions of Jake and Miguel in other books in this series so I’ll have to read them to find out.

I don’t think that NOTHING LIKE PARIS will ever be a total fan favorite for me but it was a quick read and kept me entertained on the plane ride home from Greece. Its a good brain candy sort of read that would make a good beach or crappy weather read. I liked how Cousins redeemed Jake from the first book and how he made amends for his actions. I always do enjoy a good redemption story because the characters are always so much stronger in the end. I enjoyed the bond that regrew between Miguel and Jake and they are characters that I will miss now that their book is over so I do hope that we see them again, some how, as the series progresses.

 

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Nothing Like Paris

 

Add Focus on Me by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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

three-stars
Divider

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Review1 Comment

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanThe Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel,
Also in this series: A Scot in the Dark
Published by Avon on 29 Dec 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin. . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Cumbria, England // Sprotbrough, England // Mossband, England // (1833)

First Line(s): If only the Countess of Liverpool hadn’t been such an admirer of aquatic creatures, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Long time readers of my blog will know that I am a big fan of Sarah MacLean’s books. She tends to write strong, fiesty heroines and the rogues who fall for them. This is no different in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and fans of MacLean will find a lot to love in Sophie and King. There is so much to like about Sophie that its hard to put it into words and I just love what she brings out in King, who could be sullen fellow if left to his own devices. Sophie adds a little topsy-turvey into his life although this is not something she’d ever admit to as she is the most tame of her family who all thrive off their scandalous behavior in London. There is so much to like in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN but the parts that I love best is the banter between Sophie and King. They are both quick witted and sharp and just really play well off each other. They truly are a perfect match even if they both refuse to see it much of the time.

Another aspect that I adore in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN is that it is a road trip book. I love a good road trip story and its not one that you see very often in historicals, for obvious reasons, and I just love MacLean’s take on it. Sophie’s journey isn’t like most journey’s and I just love how she manages to fool those around her. Everyone but King that is. Which just makes you want to shake them a bit because as I reader you can clearly see how right they are for each other even as they are in denial. King sees Sophie for who she is and she does the same with him. This is something that neither has experienced as they are always judged by the stories that are told about them or their family.

Rogue Not Taken Quote

 

There were some things that I didn’t like as much in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN such as the cryptic references to King’s past. I’m never a fan of cryptic references and I always just want to shake the character doing it to spit it out! King’s history is also nothing unique but it does explain a lot in shaping who he is. I also wasn’t a fan of the little headlines that began each chapter. I found them to be distracting and hard to ignore. I did try to skip them but always seemed to find myself reading them and then wishing I hadn’t. They just didn’t add anything to the story for me. THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN also includes an epilogue, which regular readers will know that I usually do not like, but in this case I found it a cute addition to the story. It was nice to get a glimpse of where Sophie and King ended up after their main story ended and I hope to see cameos of them in the next book, A SCOT IN THE DARK (Goodreads).

Overall though, I really enjoyed THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and think that it will appeal to new and old fans of Sarah MacLean. Its a quick read filled with an entertaining cast of characters. The secondary characters are all fleshed out and they all add to the story even if they are just being discussed and they don’t appear in a scene. I liked the mentions of MacLean’s other books, however brief, as it just helps to flesh out this world that she has created in her stories. The banter of Sophie and King will make you laugh out loud and there are lots of heart achy moments that will really make you fall in love with these two. Oh, there are times when you want to shake Sophie and King for being stubborn but the best thing about a MacLean romance is that you know that eventually the hero and heroine will find their HEA and it will totally be worth the journey in getting there.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Rogue Not Taken

Add A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare to Goodreads. (Click here to see my review.)

Add The Bride by Julie Garwood to Goodreads.

 BUY NOW
Excerpt


(Being shot on the Great North Road isn’t exactly a thing people expect to happen, and Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she supposes. Or are there? Not for King.)

“If you want a bath, you’ll have to accept my help,” he said.

She pursed her lips at that, her gaze settling longingly on the steaming bath. “You mustn’t look.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” It might have been the most obvious lie he’d ever told.

Somehow, she believed it, nodding and throwing back the coverlet to step out of the bed. She came to her feet, the top of her head at his chin, and he resisted the urge to help her across the room. “How do you feel?” he asked, hearing the gravel in his words. He cleared his throat.

“As though I’ve been shot, I’d imagine.”

He raised a brow. “Clever. There’s food when you’ve bathed.” The words summoned a low growl from her, and her hands flew to her stomach. Her cheeks turned red, and he smiled. “I take it you are hungry.”

“It seems so,” she said.

“Food after the bath. And then sleep.”

She met his gaze. “You’re very domineering.”

“It’s a particular talent.”

“What with you being called King.”

“Name is destiny.”

She moved past him to the high copper bathtub. He resumed his place against the wall, arms crossed, watching her carefully as she reached down, her long fingers trailing in the hot water as she sighed her anticipation. The sound was like gunfire in the room—pure, unadulterated pleasure. It was delicious.

King stiffened. He was not interested in the lady’s pleasure.

If only someone would tell his body that.

Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com
four-stars
Divider

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: George by Alex Gino

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: George by Alex GinoGeorge by Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic on 25 August 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Middle Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, USA // Bronx, New York

First Line(s): George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack.

***There will be spoilers in this post so read at your own risk***

I first learned of GEORGE by Alex Gino when I received an ARC of it at BEA and I loved the premise and how the back of the book read “Be who you are.” I think that GEORGE has the potential to be a very empowering book but while I wanted to love it there were parts of it that just fell flat for me. For one, GEORGE is very short which isn’t uncommon for a middle grade read but as such I think that things were a bit rushed and felt unfinished. I also thought that the book was filled with extremes that while might be a good way to get a point across to a tween it just didn’t sit well with my adult self. The emphasis on gender separation was a bit grating and how boys were always represented by a blue color had had to do certain things and girls by pink. How the class lined up by gender and seemed to have separate entrances.

But even with the over emphasis on gender I did love George as a character. She was so sweet and genuine and made my heart ache with the responses of adults around her. Like her teacher insisting that the part of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web could only be played by a girl and how she laughed when George tried out. That wounded my heart so much because there is no reason why a boy couldn’t play the role and also because George, while born in a male body wasn’t a boy. I loved how sure and secure George was in her thinking and I hated the doubts she had about telling the truth of her idenity to those around her. I loved how accepting her friend was and I hated the response she got from adults. Especially her mother.

George Quote

For months, George has been collecting girl magazines and hiding them in her room. They are her treasures and she loves to look at them and imagine how life would be if she looked like the girl she knew she was. When her mom finds this stash, mind you these are magazines like Teen Vogue, she flips out and yells at George that ‘he better not dress up in her clothes.’ As if that was something shameful and wrong. One of my favorite moments in the GEORGE was when she and her friend Kelly go to the zoo and she gets to be Melissa, which is the name she’d go by if she had a choice. She gets to wear a skirt and be the girl she is on the outside as well as in and she is just so happy. That’s how I wanted George to feel throughout the book.

I also felt that the reactions of George’s mother and teacher went from horrid to not in a whiplash inducing way. George’s mom went from telling George to not dress in her clothes and thing that ‘he’ was gay to being ok with George knowing she was a she. Although when George asks to be able to grow out her hair and live as a girl her mother still seems phobic about it. And that unsettled me as it seemed to put a grey cloud over the positive message that GEORGE was trying to be. But even though GEORGE unsettled me at times I do wonder how actual tweens will react to this book. Perhaps the extremes are needed to get points across to younger minds that see things more in black and white than in shades of grey. I also think that GEORGE is an important book and a good introduction to what it means to be transgender. I hope that we get more transgender books in the future for all age levels

irishdarkblue

IR - George

Add Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky to Goodreads.

Add Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Monday, October 26, 2015

Audio Review: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

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

Audio Review: None of the Above by I.W. GregorioNone of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Narrator: Caitlin Davies
Published by Harper Audio on 07 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hours 20 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com, Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Utica, NY

First Line(s): Dawn is my favorite time of day.

NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio is a book that I wanted to love and I think that I may have gone into it with too high expectations. In the end, I ended up being disappointed in NONE OF THE ABOVE but I do think that its a important book to exist in the world. NONE OF THE ABOVE is about a girl, Kristin, who learns that she’s intersex or a person who has both male and female chromosomes. Outwardly she looks like a girl and has been raised as a girl and its not until she’s 17 that she learns that she has male chromosomes. This is shocking news to her and her father as they never suspected and while much of the first part of this book is Kristin dealing with her diagnosis I felt that this book often stayed on the surface of emotions. At first, Kristin was freaked out and in denial and this was all normal reactions. But then in a blink she was ok with things and it just didn’t seem real.

Then there was the whole side story line with the faux BFFs, Vee and Faith, and I think that this annoyed me more than anything else in this book. Why is it so hard to depict real and genuine friendships in a book? Instead we always have these cases where the MC will confess a secret and then the friend is turning on her and in this case, someone told the entire school something that Kristin wasn’t ready to divulge. And maybe its just my poor memory as its been a bit since I listened to this book but I don’t think we ever learn who was behind the leak. Just that Kristin was outed before she was ready and then had to deal with her diagnosis as well as the cruelty that humans so love to inflict on other humans.

None of the Above Quote

Throughout it all I’m glad that Kristin was able to find people who were truly her friend and saw her for who she really was. Which is why part of the ending had me wanting to through my iPod out my car window because of the WTF-ery of it all. I liked the romance in the book and wish that there could have been more of it. I think that if there was more of these positive moments that I may have liked the book a little more. But even with my issues with some dislikable characters I do think that NONE OF THE ABOVE is an important story to have in the world. There are real teen going through what Kristin did and while there is some ugly in this book there is a HEA and that is an important thing to have when going through something so emotional.

I hope that NONE OF THE ABOVE is the first of many of its subject matter. The more books that are made available the more people can see that there is nothing freakish about Kristin being intersex and maybe the bullying she faced in school won’t happen to a non-fictional person. This may not have been a book I loved but that was more for the faux BFFs than for anything else. I listened to NONE OF THE ABOVE on audio and I enjoyed the narrator, Caitlin Davies. She did a great job bringing Kristin and this world of Gregorio’s to life. Davies is a new to me narrator but I liked her style and her pacing and I’ll definitely listen to a book read by her in the future.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - None of the Above

Add Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman to Goodreads.

Add Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 20 October 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia  (Year: 2575)

First Line(s): “So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.”

When I first picked up ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn’t sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.

Fingers Crossed

Well the joke was on me because it wasn’t long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:

can't stop reading

why are you doing this

ten in the rain

not ok

Star-Trek crying

lots of feelings

a river of tears

Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I’ve finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in “found documents” (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!

Illuminae Quote

scared

ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can’t tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story…the characters…the setting…it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending…oh that ending…it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.

no

Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.

fainting

irishdarkblue

IR - Illuminae

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey to Goodreads.

 

Illuminae Collage

 

Ten-Rose-badwolf-tenth-rose-21263420-500-278
five-stars
Divider