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: Titles: D – F

Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

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

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi CullinanEnjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing, Book 2
Also in this series: Dance with Me
Published by Self-Published on October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2012)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me

First Line(s):  One cool October day, after a dispiriting seven hours of teaching privileged kindergarten children, Spenser Harris returned to his apartment to discover a teenage boy – battered, bruised, and coiled into a ball – in front of his door.

ENJOY THE DANCE is the second book in Heidi Cullinan’s Dancing series and takes place about a year after the events in DANCE WITH ME (my review) ends. While this book features cameos from people that we’ve met before the two main characters are new ones to the reader, Spenser and Tomas. Both of whom I really liked and I also really liked their story and the journey that they took over the course of the book. I liked how they became friends first and then worked up to something more. I liked the slow burn aspect of this book but also liked that it wasn’t so slow that I lost interest. I also liked how Spenser and Tomas interacted with the people around them.

What I didn’t like about ENJOY THE DANCE was just how much was going on in this book. There was the issue with Duon, there was the political aspect, and then there was what was going on with Tomas’s family. Just one of those plot points would have been a lot but all three together and it all got a bit jumbled and distracting. The political portion of the story line, while an important part of modern history, isn’t something that I really want to encounter to the extent mentioned in this book. As a bit of filler here and there fine but it was just so much. Although, I do think that part of this dislike of mine comes from politic fatigue. We are in the midst of Presidential election season and I’m just really really really tired of politics. So this portion of the story may not have bothered me if I’d read it at a different time.

ENJOY THE DANCE is a quick read and I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I would have liked. I think if there was more focus on the romance and less on the political situation than I would have liked it more. I enjoyed the cameos of the characters we knew and I won’t be surprised if Duon eventually gets his own story. The boy has been through a lot of the course of the two books in this series and ENJOY THE DANCE ends in 2015 so there is potential for it. Speaking of the ending, ENJOY THE DANCE had an epilogue that did not suck. You know me reader, I am not a fan of epilogue but I think that Cullinan did a good job with this one. Although I did think that the timing of things didn’t seem entirely plausible for a 3 year stretch from the start. A year, maybe, but three? It just seemed forced. But overall, I liked it and I liked how Tomas and Spenser’s story ends. Unlike make of Cullinan’s books I didn’t find this ending to be too sugary although it does end in a way that is so very Cullinan.

If you are a fan a Cullinan, then you will like ENJOY THE DANCE. There is a lot to like about this book and I think that new fans and old will enjoy it. ENJOY THE DANCE can be read as a standalone book but there is something added when you know the other characters involved. This was a quick read for me and I do look forward to reading more of what Cullinan comes up with.

enjoy-the-dance-quote

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: three-stars
Divider

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino HassellFast Connection by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove, Book 2
Also in this series: Strong Signal
Published by Self-Published on 11 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 260
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me, Make it Count, Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Staten Island, New York // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): The smell of bagels permeated the entire shop.

FAST CONNECTION is the second book in Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Cyberlove series and features a minor character in that book, Dominic Costigan, who I will freely admit I didn’t like all that much in STRONG SIGNAL (my review.) But I shouldn’t have doubted the Erickson/Hassell writing team because they sure did deliver on a character with a lot of heart and lovability and oh how my opinion of him changed. In fact, this time around I found myself getting annoyed with Garrett and how he treated Costigan in this story! Boy did some of those text/phone conversations just break my heart because Costigan really needed a friend and Garrett was just being an ass.

Good thing that Dominic met Luke because oh my stars did those two have chemistry!! I just loved the two of them together and it just about tore me in two when they had drama. Which then made me want to glower at Garrett some more since Dominic didn’t have someone that he could rely on. FAST CONNECTION was such a heart achy read and I had so much trouble putting it down. I loved the connection between Dominic and Luke and their story was so real and raw and just everything that I love in a romance book. And its so hard to talk about everything that I love about FAST CONNECTION because words are hard and I don’t want to spoil.

Quote from: http://meganerickson.org/

Just know that FAST CONNECTION has it all. There are likable characters, even when they do stupid stubborn shit that makes you just want to shake them. There are real storylines that make your heart hurt. There are secondary characters that flesh out this story and just add to its depths and layers. There is emotion and romance and ALL THE FEELINGS!!! So many feelings and its a book that can be read as a standalone even though its listed as part of a series. Yes, there are connections and allusions to STRONG SIGNAL but I don’t think readers will be all that lost if they haven’t read that book yet (though you should be cause its awesome) but for me FAST CONNECTION was even better because to me it just felt more real. The issues that Dominic and Luke face are ones that I can relate to more and these two don’t enable each other. Instead they tend to call each other out on their bullshit which is part of why they have drama.

FAST CONNECTION is a book that kept me up as I couldn’t put it down. I was so sucked into this story and as I’ve said in various different ways just hit all the right notes with me. There really isn’t anything that I would change in this story….well except the stupid angsty drama that tore a hole in my heart…but other than that FAST CONNECTION was a wonderful roller coaster read and one that I know I’ll be re-reading a time or two (or a dozen) in the future. I really like the Erickson/Hassell writing team and I can not wait to see what these two have in store next. Because they need to co-write more. It’ll make me a sad little blogger if they don’t they just mesh so very well together.

irishdarkblue IR - Fast Connection

 

Add Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy to Goodreads.

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads.

four-stars
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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne YoungThe Epidemic by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy
Published by Simon Pulse on 29 April 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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
Also by this author: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy

Place(s) Traveled To: Portland, Oregon / Roseburg, Oregon / Eugene, Oregon / Myrtle Creek , Oregon/ Grants Pass, Oregon / Weed, California

First Line(s): My entire life is a lie.

When I finished THE REMEDY by Suzanne Young I wanted to immediately jump into its sequel, THE EPIDEMIC because whoa Nelly that was one crazy way to end a book!! Thankfully, this was just a duology so I knew that Young couldn’t toy with my emotions TOO much but it was still a wild and crazy ride from the start of THE EPIDEMIC all the way until the end. I firmly believe that Suzanne Young is an evil mastermind as its pure genius how she connects all her books in this series together. I admit, there were times where I gasped allowed at a reveal and was taken by surprise by some of the twists and turns in the story. In the end, about the only real coherent thing I could say for THE EPIDEMIC is that it was mind blowingly good.

Blew My Mind

I still didn’t like, or trust, Deacon for much of the book but I did eventually come around to that ship. But who I shipped most was Quinn and all the things that she went through throughout THE EPIDEMIC. She had such an amazing story ARC that I am so very very sad to see it all come to an end. Although its good for Quinn because after what she went through I don’t think she’d survive any more of what Young could cook up for her. (Have I mentioned that Young is an evil author? Because if not she is.)

lots of feelings

THE EPIDEMIC is a book that kept me on the very edge of my seat from start to finish and one that I couldn’t put down once I started. I pretty much read THE EPIDEMIC in a single sitting and barely paused to eat or do anything because I was so invested in what would happen next. THE EPIDEMIC was so creepily delicious and by the end I was an emotional wreck of a reader who just wanted to cry in a corner and then maybe re-read THE PROGRAM because I think that book will be even more creepily good now that I know what I know about you know what.

the more you know

 

I have so much that I want to say about THE EPIDEMIC but its hard to do so without spoiling anything in the series. This is definitely one of those books where its best to go in fairly blind because then everything just feels a little bit more raw and the discoveries are that much more exciting. I also have real trouble finding words to fully express my feelings and thoughts about THE EPIDEMIC but I can show you what I was thinking as I read it via my Goodreads updates:

epidemic reactions

This world that Young has created in her Program series is nothing short of fantastic and all too scarily real. As you read this series you can see how these progression of events could happen and that just makes it all the more terrifying. Young is also a super talented writer and just has this way with words and language that really set a scene and pulls out real and raw emotions from a reader. I always become so invested in her stories and when each one ends I am left pining for the next one. If you haven’t experienced the crazy emotional roller coaster ride that is then what are you waiting for? Its totally worth it…and I’ll be waiting for you over on twitter with hugs and cookies if you need them.

shock - still processing

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

 

Add The Remedy by Suzanne Young to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
Divider

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Review: Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Fever Pitch by Heidi CullinanFever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons, Book 2
Also in this series: Love Lessons, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay
Published by Samhain Publishing on 30 September 2014
Genres: Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Oak Grove, Minnesota // Eden Praire, Minnesota // Minneapolis, Minnesota // Anoka, Minnesota // St. Paul, Minnesota // Burnsville, Minnesota

First Line(s): On his eighteenth birthday, Aaron Seavers navigated the sea of college brochures scattered across his comforter, searching for a future capable of pleasing his father without crushing his own soul. He was pretty sure he’d have better luck if he trekked out to the state park and hunted a unicorn.

FEVER PITCH by Heidi Cullinan is the second book in her Love Lessons trilogy and involves characters that we first meet in this book. Although we do get plenty of nice cameos from Walter and Kelly who were the leads in LOVE LESSONS (my review.) What’s nice about FEVER PITCH is that is does read as a stand alone so you don’t need to have read the first book although its nice to do so to fully understand Walter and Kelly. I devoured FEVER PITCH and read it in a single sitting and it totally made my heart ache right from the start. I was hooked from the start from Aaron and Giles’s first meeting to their separation to finding their happily ever after. I loved how Cullinan put her own spin on the standard romance script so that there was no pointless break up and yet still a whole lotta heart ache.

As with most romances, one of the big issues facing our two love birds is a lack of communication. But what does separate Aaron and Giles from the crowd is that they aren’t keeping pointless secrets from each other or making crazy assumptions based on the past and what little information they have on hand. Ok, so that happens a little bit but mostly these two are just too scared to talk to one another as they are afraid of taking the leap and getting hurt. At times it makes you want to shake them both but then its easy to get annoyed when you know what’s inside each of their hearts. What often matters in a contemporary romance is the payoff and FEVER PITCH totally wins at that.

Fever Pitch Quote

I loved Aaron and Giles’s journey. Not only are they college freshman (which comes with its own set of unknowns and anxieties) but they both also have lots of mental baggage to deal with. And its partially this baggage that keeps them apart. What I liked is that they do take the time to eventually form a strong bond and become friends and really learn about each other over the course of this book. Yes, there is some insta-lust as well but its something that totally works for this story and without it then we may not have had their epic romance.

I also really liked the various secondary characters that peppered the pages of FEVER PITCH. They were funny and real and just added a level of realism to the story that sometimes gets lost in books. What I didn’t like was the crazy bit of WTF-ery that happened near the end. It was totally out of left field and didn’t add anything to this story. Although it does set the stage for the third book, LONELY HEARTS (goodreads). WTF-ery aside though I totally enjoyed this book and know it will be one that I will re-read. If you like a good hear achy contemporary romance than look no further and pick up FEVER PITCH today.

irishdarkblue

IR - Fever Pitch

 

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

Add Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-half-stars
Divider

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl
Published by Sourcebooks on 05 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl

Place(s) Traveled To: Franklin, Tennessee // Murfreesboro, Tennessee // Brentwood, Tenneessee

First Line(s): When I was a little girl, Dad installed a gumball machine in our house.

It’s taken me awhile to come up with the right words to fully express my thoughts on DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally and even these words don’t seem completely right. DEFENDING TAYLOR is everything that you would expect from a book by Miranda Kenneally but its also so much more. All off Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks books have some sort of theme to them, and not just the various sportsing that is mentioned either. For me, the main theme in DEFENDING TAYLOR is one of second chances. Its about making mistakes and learning to live with the consequences no matter what they are. Its about standing your ground when you think you are right even when telling one simple truth can change everything.

Taylor isn’t always the easiest character to like or even to understand at times but by the end of the book you can’t help but to sympathize with her and the tough choices she makes. What she did might be hard for some to understand but its something that happens all the time. Sometimes you make a tough choice thinking that the consequence won’t be that bad and if they are then you have to live them. I think that Taylor is very brave for what she did because her choice wasn’t an easy one and her family certainly didn’t make it any easier. Even though they could have done so. I really wasn’t a fan of Taylor’s family in this book so was really glad when she reconnected with Ezra as she needed a friendly face around.

Defending Taylor Quote

While at its heart DEFENDING TAYLOR is about making choices it also contains two of my favorite book tropes: second chance at love and friend of a sibling. Ezra is the BFF of Taylor’s brother and once upon a time they almost got together. When you learn their backstory it just makes your heart ache for what could have been. And while things could have been cleared up if the two just talked to each other there was pride and hurt feelings that got in the way. Plus, the timing then may not have been right as both of these characters needed to go through some things  before they were ready for their HEA.

DEFENDING TAYLOR is a book that I found hard to put down once I started it. I may not have always agreed with Taylor and her life choices but I did understand them. In the end, the thing I wanted most from DEFENDING TAYLOR was more. I wanted more story, more Taylor, more Ezra and just more of everything. Keanneally has a gift for writing feel good, heart achy stories and if you are a fan of her words then you don’t want to miss this one. If you haven’t read anything by Keanneally before then DEFENDING TAYLOR might be a good place to start. Its definitely a book that you want on your shelf this summer.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Defending Taylor

 

Add Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review, Click here for Andi’s review)

Add Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen to Goodreads. (Click here for Andi’s review)

four-stars
Divider

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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

Review: The Dead House by Dawn KurtagichThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 15 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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: Somerset, England

First Line(s): I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich is the a YA debut murder mystery story. Its told using mixed media or “found” documents after there is a fire at a boarding school that resulted in the deaths of a couple of students and another,Carly, to disappear without a trace. Twenty years after the events in question Carly’s diary is found and that is the main source material used to tell this story. The reader quickly learns that Carly isn’t your average teenager. Because at night she’s no longer Carly and she becomes Kaitlyn. The two girls, though they share a body, are two very different people and they lead two very different lives and yet they somehow manage to coexist. It is never clear throughout the telling of THE DEAD HOUSE which personality is the original and which is the alter.

THE DEAD HOUSE is a quick read because of its format and I thought that the story was well written and engaging as I was reading it. However, the more time that passes between my reading of the book the more story itself fades into the background. When I finished THE DEAD HOUSE I wasn’t sure what to make of the story and now a few months later I am still unsure of it. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of resolution and it felt a little open ended as if there might be a sequel at some point in the future. I also expected THE DEAD HOUSE to be a creepier story than it was and maybe the audio version incorporates the creep factor in better. Though I’m not sure how well this mixed media style would work in audio form.

The Dead House Quote

Overall, I was left a little underwhelmed with THE DEAD HOUSE. It was interesting and yet at the same time its also forgettable. I feel like I’m missing something when I see all the rave reviews of this story. Because for me there wasn’t a whole ton of substance. We got the facts and nothing but and we never really got a solution to the mystery at large. Who was Carly/Kaitlyn really? Where did she go after the fire? Or was she a victim that was never found? In the end I was left with more questions than answers so was left thinking that the whole story was just average.

Other than the main mystery of the fire, there are several other things going on from potential paranormal aspects to cults and mysterious events that happened years before the fire. There is a lot of detail given and yet not a lot at the same time. THE DEAD HOUSE is a weird little novel that I liked but didn’t love and maybe it is one that I should re-read to see if its one of those stories that makes more sense the more its read. Although, I really don’t have a whole heck of a lot of desire to re-read this one. THE DEAD HOUSE wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I was expecting either and so maybe that’s part of where my disappointment comes in. If you liked mixed media and ghost stories then maybe you’ll like this one too.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dead House

Add The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender to Goodreads.

Add Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Dirty by Kylie ScottDirty by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar,
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 19 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Lick, Play, Lead, Deep

Place(s) Traveled To: Coeur d”Alene, Idaho

First Line(s): Fuck. I stared at my cell phone, mouth slack in horror.

DIRTY by Kylie Scott is the first book in her new series which is a spin off of her Stage Dive series which I devoured last year and has one of my favorite meet cutes in a book. The chemistry between Vaughan and Lydia is immediate and I just loved reading their story. We first met Vaughan in the Stage Dive series as a member of another band and things are changing for him in DIRTY. His future is up in the air and the last thing he needs is for a woman in a wedding dress to break into his childhood home. But sometimes, just sometimes, the expected things in life end up being just the things you need. Vaughan and Lydia are both at a crossroads at the start of this book unsure where their path will go and by the end the reader is just a puddle of mush because it was just that good of a journey.

While DIRTY is a spin off of another series there isn’t that much cross over between the two and so it can be read independently. This also means that there is a whole new cast of characters that we get to know. They range from the douchbaggery to ones that you know you are going to love and hope that they get their own books. The secondary characters in DIRTY really add a lot of humor and depth to the story and I loved meeting them all and seeing how they fit in Lydia and Vaughan’s story. Not to mention the most excellent dialogue between Lydia and Vaughan…oh how I loved their banter and I often found myself laughing as I read this book.

Dirty Quote

I found it really hard to put DIRTY down once I picked it up and simply flew through the story. I loved every moment of it and found it realistic and fun and it gave me all the heartachy feels that I love. I do think that for all its build up that the ending was a bit rushed. I wish that DIRTY had been just a little longer to give the ending a bit more cohesiveness. Though I do appreciate how there was no pointless breakup in this story. Yes the characters have a conflict and separation (because really when don’t they in a romance book?) but its realistic and heartbreaking and also necessary to get that HEA conclusion that we readers long for.

If you are a fan of Kylie Scott then you are going to love DIRTY and if you’ve never read her before then this is a great book to start with. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, TWIST, and can’t wait to see who will be featured in that story. I hated leaving this world so its wonderful to know that I’ll be able to get back to it again soon as the series continues. I also still want to set fire to one of the characters (ok maybe two) cars but I trust that my girl Lydia will enact her revenge on them by finding a happiness that they can’t even begin to imagine. Lydia is fierce and I think she’ll be as loved by readers as she is by Vaughan and you won’t want to miss meeting them both.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Dirty

Add Built by Jay Crownover to Goodreads. (Click here for my review & an excerpt.)

Add Listen to Me by Kristen Proby to Goodreads.

four-stars
Divider

Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

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

Review: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. HighleyFinding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley
Published by Entangled Crush on 14 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 199
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Alderwood, Texas // Dallas, Texas

First Line(s): “All in all,” Mr Granger said, ” the scores on the midterm were pretty good, so I didn’t feel the need to grade on a curve.”

Sometimes when you pick up a book its not the right time and so you may not like it as much and others its that perfect moment to read the book so just leaves with all those happy heart achy feels. Such was the case with me and FINDING PERFECT by Kendra C. Highley. If I’d read this in a different time and place I may not enjoyed it as much as I did but as it was I was totally swept away in the story and feel head over heals for it. Granted, there were things that I epicaly despised like Paige’s mother who was super duper awful. I hated the pressure that Paige’s parents put on her and how they told her that there would be time for fun later and now was the time to work work work! So much pressure that she’d freak out over a grade that was anything less than an A and even an A wasn’t acceptable as it wasn’t an A+.

While I agree that teens should have a focus on school and grades, I don’t think that it should take up all of their time. Balance is needed in order to live a rich and full life. Especially when you are 17. There is plenty of time to work and be serious and the longer you put off having a life the less likely you are to actually have one. Its so much harder to be free when you have a job and a house and bills to worry about. To put so much pressure on a girl at 17 is just a recipe for said girl to self destruct and burn out long before she’s an adult.

Finding Perfect Quote

But what I did love was the relationship between Paige and Ben. Oh there were times I wanted to shake them both because a big part of the plot centered around a failure to communicate (and we all know how that trope annoys me) but I loved them when they were together. They had great chemistry and banter and complemented each other so well. I liked the people that they were when then were around each other and its Paige and Ben that totally made FINDING PERFECT for me. I also adored the character of Zoey, Paige’s BFF, because she was a true BFF. She was there to support Paige when she needed it and tell her the truth when she needed that as well. No frenemy here.

The best way for me to describe the plot of FINDING PERFECT is to relate it to a 90s rom-com. The plot is a little hokey at times and the ending was super cutesy and too neatly tied up. But it was everything that you’d expect from a 90s romantic comedy. FINDING PERFECT has its ups and downs and its far from a perfect book but it made my heart ache and it hit all the right note with me. So because of that I really fell for this story. I hated to hit the last page and to leave this world and its characters. I’m hoping that Highley decides to write some companion stories so that we can see more of Paige and Ben and see where they end up after The End. For me, FINDING PERFECT was a story that I got lost in. It was a quick read and exactly what I needed. If you are a lover of 90s rom-coms and contemporary YA then you should totally give FINDING PERFECT a shot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Finding Perfect

 

Add The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

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

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 02 April 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift, Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Nantes, Brittany/France // Rennes, France // Morlaix, France //Tonquedec, France (1489)

First Line(s): I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

When GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (my review) came out back in 2012 I devoured it. While I was wary at first I totally fell under the spell of these Medieval assassin nuns. I then later received an ARC of DARK TRIUMPH and my first thought was to pick it up immediately and read it but it was far out from publication date and so I put it aside. And there it sat on a shelf until last year when a friend and I made a pact to do a co-read of it. DARK TRIUMPH picks up right around when GRAVE MERCY ends but switches POV from Ismae to Sybella. Sybella was an interesting character in GRAVE MERCY so I was looking forward to her story. However, I didn’t quite fall for DARK TRIUMPH as deeply as I did with GRAVE MERCY and I think that’s due in part to the POV change.

I just didn’t find Sybella to be as likable as Ismae nor was she as nuanced a character. Yes, Sybella was a strong heroine that overcame a pretty shitty upbringing but I just didn’t care about her the same way that I did Ismae. I also really didn’t buy the romance in this story. There was just so little development in that area that I just didn’t feel any chemistry when Sybella and Beast finally declared their love for each other. Though I really did like Beast, he was an bright and entertaining light throughout the story. I liked the camaraderie that he and Sybella shared but there just wasn’t enough of them together for them to form that much needed spark.

Dark Triumph Quote

But what bothered me the most about DARK TRIUMPH was how repetitive it was. I get that some recap is needed to refresh fans from what happened in GRAVE MERCY but Sybella just kept thinking the same thoughts over and over again. So much so that there was very little in the way of plot development in DARK TRIUMPH. This book was all hurry up and wait and there was very little action. It was very much a middle book in a series and was more filler and fluff than anything of substance. As such I found this one really easy to put down and stay down while I was reading.

When I did pick it up I was I found myself in the story but I had to force myself to pick it up each day. And I did that mostly so that I could finish around the same time as my friend. There were times where I was tempted to skip over parts and I feel that if I had done so then I wouldn’t have missed very much at all. Most of the action/plot that happens in DARK TRIUMPH comes at the end. The rest is just waiting around for something to happen. There were just so many missed opportunities in DARK TRIUMPH that just left this one lacking for me. As such, while I do plan to finish the series at some point, I don’t have the burning need to rush out and see how it all ends. What say you readers, does the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy end with a bang or a fizzle? Leave a comment or catch me on social media and let me know if I should prioritize MORTAL HEART or not.

irishdarkblue

IR - Grave Mercy

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by AC Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Finnikin of the Rock to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider