Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Real" Book Challenge February Recap

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

I am once again partaking in the "Real" Book Challenge hosted by the lovely ladies over at Fic Fare. I've been signed on since January but completely forgot to link up what I've read so this post will be for both January and February so I can get caught up. So here's what I've read so far:

Goal: 80
Total So Far: 10
Current Level: Real Book Newbie

I'd say that's a pretty good start. There's still time to join up! If you're interested, head on over to Fic Fare and sign on up! See you next month :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: Never Never (Never Never #1) by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: January 7, 2015
Publisher: Hoover Ink
159 Pages

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget. 

This book was extremely hard for me to rate and I know that it's because it's a two part novella. I felt like we're only getting half of the story, so how should I rate it?

Well, let me just start off by saying that I would read anything Colleen Hoover puts out. I may not always love her stories, but I love her writing style and Never Never wasn't any different. Having never read any of Tarryn Fisher, I still found myself enjoying the writing style.

Now I love a good mystery. But this was just one giant "WTF". My head was spinning by the end trying to figure everything out. Nothing was concluded, not even something small. It really seemed like a nice marketing gimmick, "Want answers, buy our next book!". (I think I may be a little upset that this was initially one book then was split into 2.)

Then there were the characters. I did not like Charlie at all and while Silas seemed like a good character, the more that came out about him just put him on the same level as Charlie.

I will be reading the next installment because I really want to know what happens, but I'm just not a fan of how it was presented.

*My opinion of the story as a whole may change pending the outcome of the entire product.*


Monday, February 16, 2015

ARC Review: The Distraction (The Body Works Trilogy #2) by Sierra Kincade

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkeley
352 Pages

The seductive story that started in The Masseuse continues...

Anna Rossi knows that opening your heart only gets you hurt. But Alec Flynn is just too good to resist…

It’s been three long months since Anna’s seen Alec, since he saved her life and lit up her soul with unquenchable desire. Being without him has left her on edge, but his bravery has motivated her to change her life and go after what she’s always wanted—a job where she can help people. She can’t wait to show Alec the woman she’s become in his absence, or to prove how much she’s missed him…

Three months away has done nothing to slake Alec’s need for Anna. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made his life any less dangerous. The last thing he wants to do is hurt Anna, but if giving her up is the only way to save her, he’s not sure he can do that either. He’s determined to have her for as long as he can. Except his past is creeping up on him faster than he knows, and this time he may not be able to keep her from becoming collateral damage…

Having your boyfriend in jail sucks. Just ask Anna Rossi. She's been counting down the days until Alec Flynn is released and she's not very patient. But when Alec is released, Anna doesn't count on the awkwardness that follows them around. Add in the danger of such a high profile case and you have a very emotional roller coaster of a ride.

I definitely enjoyed this installment more than the first. And I think that was mostly in part to Anna. She grew as a character in this book and became more mature and more self-sufficient.

Alec to me was still very stiff and lacking any real type of personality. Maybe it was because we don't see a lot of him, but he was very bland and their chemistry beyond sexual is very hard to see.

What I really enjoyed were the side stories. I loved the parts with Mike and his daughter and Anna's best friend and her daughter. I really want to know more about them and watch their relationship grow because, come on, we all know where that's going.

Also, the author does really well with writing believable crime drama. Most of the books I've read, writers take liberties relating to crime involvement and it ends up taking me out of the story because of it's absurdity. But Kincade wrote situations that, although extremely dramatic, weren't completely unbelievable.

I really enjoy Kincade's writing style and I felt like it grew in this book right along with her characters. She does love to end her books on a little of a clifhanger, so I am definitely looking forward to reading the next, and last, installment.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ARC Review: Last Hit (Hitman #1) by Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkeley Trade
368 Pages

From two bestselling authors—the first in a deliciously bold new series that takes readers to the most dangerous edge of desire . . .

Nikolai: I have been a contract killer since I was a boy. For years I savored the fear caused by my name, the trembling at the sight of my tattoos. The stars on my knees, the marks on my fingers, the dagger in my neck, all spoke of danger. If you saw my eyes, it was the last vision you’d have. I have ever been the hunter, never the prey. With her, I am the mark and I am ready to lie down and let her capture me. Opening my small, scarred heart to her brings out my enemies. I will carry out one last hit, but if they hurt her, I will bring the world down around their ears.

Daisy : I’ve been sheltered from the outside world all my life. Home-schooled and farm-raised, I’m so naive that my best friend calls me Pollyanna. I like to believe the best about people. Nikolai is part of this new life, and he’s terrifying to me. Not because his eyes are cold or my friend warns me away from him, but because he’s the only man who has ever seen the real me beneath the awkwardness. With him, my heart is at risk . . . and also, my life.

Umm…this book was kind of all over the place. Russian hitman falls for country bumpkin who knows nothing about the world. The premise didn’t grab me, but I figured, what the heck, I would give it a shot.
This was insta love. Plain and simple. Nick sees Daisy from his building across the street and instantly knows she must be his. And when I mean sees her from across the street, I mean, he spies on her from his apartment into hers. I’m sorry but that’s not romantic (come on, Daisy!). He also tends to stalk her and destroy her things so he can buy her new ones.

Then there’s Daisy, the little innocent virginal flower. Her mother was killed in a random act of violence and because of that, her father shut the out the outside world and raised his daughter within the confines of his own house. Only letting her leave for a few hours each day to buy food. Somehow Daisy manages to run away and it’s in the big city where she meets Nikolai.  She literally knows nothing about life and easily trusts Nick almost from the moment they meet.

The book then proceeded to go the way most insta love books go: everything super-fast and super unbelievable. He teaches her about her sexuality while also lying about his profession (oh he’s a hitman). He tries to get her to quit her job because it’s not safe and he can’t protect her there.  And then DRAMA.

Of course Nick’s profession was going to cause problems. And poor little Daisy gets caught up in the crossfire. Sigh…predictable. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t cut it for me. And when your side characters are more interesting than your main, there’s a problem. What this book did do for me was entice me to read the next one.  Regan and Daniel just seem so much more interesting than Nikolai and Daisy.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

ARC Review: Hero by Samantha Young

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: NAL Trade
416 Pages

The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that her mother and she weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again....

I absolutely adore Samantha Young’s writing. I just blew through the On Dublin Series, devouring one book after another. When I heard there was a new book, one that took place on my side of the ocean, I was all in.

Alexa Holland recently had her world shatter around her. Everything she thought she knew about her family was a lie and now she’s desperately trying to forget everything and move on. Unfortunately, she lands in the path of Caine Carraway who’s linked to her past in the worst kind of way.

The hostility on Caine’s side is palpable and he’s furious to see Alexa at his place of work. This girl represents everything that destroyed his family and she just won’t go away. Even after he gets her fired, she’s still there – determined that he have happiness. 

Tension, chemistry, animosity, and just plain fire exist between these two. I’m pretty sure they go through all the spectrums from hate to love multiple times over. It made for an entertaining read and some pretty hot sexy times. While it didn’t blow me away, I enjoyed reading about these characters.
Caine was an enigma. First impression, he was an ass. A hardworking ass. As the story goes on, the layers that make up Caine Carroway shed and we finally see him allowing himself to feel emotions – most of this is thanks in part to his neighbor Effie. He’s very sheltered about his past but is also completely defined by it. Once he lets Alexa in, we see him slowly start to let go. The one frustrating thing about Caine was how, once he would let himself go, he would immediately pull himself back even further into himself. It gave the saying ‘one step forward, two steps back’ a whole new meaning. 

And then there’s Alexa. Man, she was a determined little thing. Here’s a man who hates her guts and gets her fired from her job, and she still seeks him out – even works as his PA fully knowing he’s going to abuse that position. I enjoyed her sass and determination. There were parts towards the end that had me saying ‘just let him go, move on!’, but she didn’t. She hung in there. I still don’t know whether that was brave or just stupidity. 

Overall, I enjoyed this one. Young definitely knows how to write chemistry and intriguing characters. A common theme I’ve noticed in her writings is that she loves to throw in a little bit of mystery and danger in her books and it was ever present in Hero. But based on how quickly I blew through this book, Young remains an author I will always read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Rowdy (Marked Men #5) by Jay Crownover

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
416 Pages

After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.

“I always thought it was the firsts that matter, but now I know it’s the lasts that stay with you.”

Finally! Finally I get to Rowdy’s book. I had an inkling early on that Rowdy would be my boy, and damn, I was not wrong. There was just something about him that hooked me, even though I couldn’t place it. His blue eyes and pompadour just hooked me. And now…now I’m gone.
In previous books in this series, Rowdy St. James comes across as being the carefree one. He’s the one who just rolls with the punches, always looking for a good time. It just seemed like nothing could rattle him. That is until Salem Cruz walks in. Not much was known about Rowdy except that he was in love once in his past and when that ended, he basically just decided that love was too much of an effort. It was something he didn’t need in his life. But it wasn’t Salem that made Rowdy swore off love; it was her little sister, Poppy.
Salem may not have been the one who turned him off of love back in the day, but she did break his heart. When she was younger, she and Rowdy formed an unlikely friendship. Along with Poppy, the three of them grew fiercely close. However, living under the harsh rule of her father proved to be too much and Salem left town as soon as she could. Leaving Rowdy in the dust. But she never forgot him. And when a job opens up in the Marked business, Salem packs up her life and heads to Colorado, completely unprepared for the welcome she receives.

While I was worried about the storyline going in – boy loves one sister, gets dumped, falls in love with the other – I should have known just to trust Crownover. This was more than a classic love story, this was about accepting and facing the past and coming out stronger on the other side. Rowdy’s been running this whole time from the pain inflicted upon him by Poppy, and when Salem shows up, he not only has to face that but also Salem’s betrayal. 

I was a little iffy on Salem in the beginning. She just came in, guns blazing, and basically gave Rowdy no room to process and then she was upset when he didn’t welcome her with open arms. But the more we got to know her, the more I warmed up to her. She didn’t end up being my favorite girl in the series, and honestly I’m not sure that I completely love her with Rowdy, but I did come to appreciate her strength and how much she cared for those around her. And her puppy was just adorable.

Then there was Rowdy.
All of these boys are broken in their own way and I love how each story is so different from the others. None of them overshadow each other and I still care about the other guys when they show up. But it’s Rowdy’s vulnerability and overall sweetness that won me. I loved watching him struggle with understanding the different feelings he felt for both sisters in the past. While he puts on this ‘bad boy’ front, he is more like a lost little boy just waiting for everyone to leave him and I wanted to hug him. So much was thrown at him here- more than just the arrival of Salem- that my heart constantly ached for him. 

All in all, I believe that Rowdy is my favorite book of the series and definitely my favorite boy. I look forward to whatever else Crownover has in store for these boys especially based on the little hints that were dropped in this book. I can’t wait!

Blog design by Imagination Designs using papers from the Santa Monica paper pack by Mally Mac and Me