Review for Wreck Me (Nova #4) by Jessica Sorensen

Wreck Me by Jessica Sorensen

TITLE: Wreck Me
SERIES: Nova #4
AUTHOR: Jessica Sorensen
PUBLICATION DATE: October 22, 2014
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 350 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 bows

Tristan Morganson is constantly battling his addiction to drugs. He’s doing better, they call to him every single day. The only thing keeping him straight now is that night three months ago when an intriguing lady gave him the choice of taking his drugs back or allowing her to flush them down the toilet. He doesn’t know why exactly, just that that particular moment keeps floating back to him when he thinks about finding more drugs. Avery Hensley, the intriguing lady, has had a bad life up until the past few years. She followed her heart as a teen and ended up married with a son before she became legal. Then Conner, the man of her dreams, started showing his darker side and suddenly things are falling apart. She has managed to get her life back together, but she swore she would never again allow a man in her life. That leaves too much up to question and life with a 5 year old son just isn’t up for that. Then she meets Tristan and he’s so different from Conner. He’s real and sweet and fighting an addiction she understands too well. The more time they spend together, the more she longs to break her rules, but is she brave enough to really give it a try?

I think we’ve covered how much I like Tristan in past reviews, right?
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K, so I’ll skip the over the top gushing about how awesome he is. I may even like him more than Quinton…maybe…I’m not sure. Either way, he’s that sweet, flirty guy who manages to be both cocky and vulnerable flawlessly. He perfectly captures that inner debate I think everyone can relate to, that “Am I really good enough” thing. Besides that, he’s, you know, hot.

I sympathized with Avery immediately. This girl is just trying to better herself and enrich her son’s life. And she’s working her ass off to do it. Balancing school, work, a kid, and helping Habitat build a house to repay them for building her one is nothing to joke about. I don’t know how she manages to do it without falling apart. She was in such a bad place and she’s come so far. She’s a fighter and a lover and she’s so determined to do what’s right by her kid that her wants and needs don’t factor in at all. It was admirable, even when it was infuriating because I know how much Tristan wants to be more than friends and I know his intentions are far from nefarious and I just want her to realize that. JUST GET IT ON ALREADY! ::coughs:: I mean, you know, talk it out….

I think what makes me love Sorensen’s characters, and work in general, is her ability to make perfectly flawed characters. She writes characters that have been through bad shit and manage to keep breathing every day. She writes characters that have serious problems and yet I never dislike them. You just don’t understand how amazing that it because I have serious issues with drugs and their users. I am also incredibly unforgiving in real life, but somehow Sorensen makes me love her characters even with their addictions and their pasts. I mean, Tristan has done terrible things for drugs. Fuck, Quinton did terrible things for drugs. And yet I love both of them.

This has everything you could want in a contemporary romance. It has love, angst, and just the right level of smut. It’s written in that highly addictive way we’ve all come to expect from Sorensen. I’m being to think that it is impossible for her to write something that I won’t love intensely. This one can be read as a stand-alone, but I think it’ll mean more if you’ve read the first three books in this series. Reading the earlier ones also helps set the tone for this. Though Sorensen has delved into dark and disturbing places before, this particular series is more heartbreaking than the rest. Nova and Quinton’s story is more brutal than the others and I think knowing that helps you set the stage for this one. Bottom line? Read it. If you’re a romance fan at all, you won’t be able to stop yourself from loving it!

5 bows
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Review for The Invisible (The Brokenhearted #2) by Amelia Kahaney

The Invisible by Amelia Kahaney

TITLE: The Invisible
SERIES: The Brokenhearted #2
AUTHOR: Amelia Kahaney
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2014
PAGES: 304 pages
FORMAT: eARC / Audiobook
NARRATOR: Rebecca Gibel
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Borrowed
RATING: 1 bow

Summary from GoodReads:

Taking up where The Brokenhearted ended, the sequel finds Anthem Fleet attempting to return to a normal life after an experimental surgery that left her with a bionic hummingbird heart and a terrifying new strength. But she can’t shake her suspicions about her father’s connection to the Syndicate and she can’t ignore the cries of help in the crime-ridden city of Bedlam. She finds new promise in her relationship with Ford, but after his lifesaving surgery, the Ford Anthem knew slips away.

When a mysterious new group called “The Invisible” starts attacking the privileged North Siders, Anthem has to step up and be the New Hope that Bedlam needs, or Bedlam will fall…once and for all.

This is how irritated this novel made me. I cannot even make myself come up with a synopsis. I don’t care enough to summarize this novel. Had I not found an audiobook copy to listen to, I don’t think I would have been able to finish it. Seriously, it was that bad. It probably didn’t help that I was dreading it so much. I hated The Brokenhearted. It took three times longer than it should have to get through that and it was terrible. This was not an improvement. This didn’t seem to have a cohesive point. Again, that could just be because I didn’t rightly care. I didn’t care if Anthem died. I sort cared a little that Ford got better, but that was probably the only thing I put even a minute amount of effort into. Or rather I did care until he pulled the Edward Cullen bullshit of we have to break up because I might hurt you. Dude, seriously? The girl has the same super powers you do, how the hell are you going to hurt her?
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The romance between the two is almost non-existant because the breakup so early on. The action was flat out boring. Anthem is as dense as ever with her “crime solving.” And then we get to the end where, once again, everything is just compacted to an interesting last 50 or so pages. The conclusion, by the way, felt like bullshit. It felt like a piece of the story Kahaney put in just for shock value because we weren’t expecting it. Though, if we are being honest, we should have expected it. We are idiots for not expecting it.

So what is my point in all this? If you didn’t like the first one but think this will be better, it’s not. If you haven’t read the first one yet, don’t. Save yourself the heartache and ignore the pretty cover and just trust me. This is a hot mess of a series that I do not recommend to anyone.

****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

1 bow
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Review for Only Enchanting (Survivor’s Club #4) by Mary Balogh

Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

TITLE: Only Enchanting
SERIES: Survivor’s Club #4
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh
PUBLICATION DATE: October 28, 2014
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 2.5 bows

Summery from GoodReads: Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.

I can’t even bring myself to come up with a decent summary for this. I just did the lazy thing and pulled the one from GoodReads, as you can see. I feel like this novel had too much going on for me to summarize it. I don’t even think the above summary is appropriate because that particular conflict doesn’t appear until very late in the novel. In fact, though-out the whole thing, I kept waiting for that particular conflict to occur and just kept waiting.
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Onward to the characters! Agnes was someone I didn’t love instantly. This may be because she falls prey to instalove and that immediately made me roll my eyes at her. She seems like a smart, level-headed character and then she goes to a ball, shares 2 dances with a handsome gentleman, and dead sweet baby jesus, she’s in love.
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This is particularly annoying considering just before she falls so suddenly in love, she makes a mental speech about how she has no desire to do so. She finds love to be fickle and useless. I never seemed to let go of that annoyance. I never really liked her or related to her in a way that allowed me to connect with the story. She never does anything after that particularly bad, I just couldn’t forget the insta-love.

Flavian was no different. Though insta-love wasn’t an issue, I just didn’t connect with his character. He…I…
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I was indifferent to him. He didn’t inspire major swoons, but nor did he inspire major annoyance. He was just there, fulfilling his part of the story. He should get the sympathy vote because the poor man has been through a lot, but he doesn’t even get that.

I think my issue with this was the first half was incredibly slow and choppy. When my review copy of this arrived in the mail, I was very excited. I have heart great things about Mary Balogh and she is a celebrated historical romance author. The premise of the novel didn’t sound wholly original, but we all know originality isn’t what we read romance for, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then I started it and was instantly bored. I read a lot before bedtime and it’s never a good sign when a book makes me sleepy before my normal lights out period. For the first half, I struggled through. The whole thing was so abrupt. She sees him and is instantly in love. They keep meeting randomly to make out but have no real conversation and he literally marries her more or less just to be able to bed her. He admits that outright.

Then, once they are finally married, we get no smut. There is no wedding night scene, or any real smut later. This is a romance novel, smut is part of the appeal. It wasn’t even so much that it was smut-free (because I didn’t have a problem with The Baron Next Door being smut-free), it’s the moment she chooses to skip ahead. They are going at it and things are getting steamy and then….they have apparently gotten it on and finished and we get none of the glory.

After that, the plot issues originally broached in the synopsis finally arrives. Our Agnes learns that part of the reason Flavian married her was to thwart an attempt from his family to set him back up with his previous fiance. She flips shit and he grovels and fixes it. There is obviously more to it than that, but that’s the gist. Then there was his whole memory issue and the actual ex-fiance herself and I just felt a bit overwhelmed. I think that was another problem, it felt like she was trying to put 2 different stories together here, but didn’t give either of them enough room. If this book had started on page 150 or even 200, and skipped the beginning, I’d have probably loved it, but that was not to be.

So, what you need to know is that I found this disappointing. I won’t say bad because I’m sure my bias on insta-love ruined part of it for me, but it wasn’t great by a long shot. As excited as I was to finally get my hands on a Balogh novel, I can’t say I’ll go out of my way to do so again in the future. If this is what all the fuss is about, then I must say, I’m unimpressed!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

2 bowshalf a bow
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Blog Tour for Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram (Review, interview, & giveaway)

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Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

TITLE: Cinder & Ella
AUTHOR: Kelly Oram
PUBLICATION DATE: October 1, 2014
RATING: 5 bows
BUY LINK: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.


I’m color coding! My questions are in normal black and Kelly’s responses are in pink.

1. Was there any music that inspired Cinder & Ella or helped you in the writing process?
I can’t write with music on. It’s too distracting for me. But I usually have some sort of playlist for each book I write. It’s just a list of songs that remind me of the book or certain characters. I have quite a long playlist for Cinder & Ella. I won’t list all the songs here, but I’ll tell you the one song that I’ve adopted as Brian & Ella’s song. It’s Parachute by Train. If you get a chance, listen to it. Both the lyrics and the tone of the song sort of sum up Brian and Ella’s relationship for me.

What was your favorite scene to write in Cinder & Ella?
There were several scenes that I had a lot of fun with, but my favorite is definitely the scene where Brian and Ella meet for the first time. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was a lot of fun. It doesn’t happen right away because their relationship is an anonymous online relationship, so was really excited to finally get to that point in the book. I think the readers will enjoy it too because of all the anticipation building up to it.

What was the hardest scene to write in Cinder & Ella?
This is a tough question because scenes can be hard to write for a lot of different reasons. I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one. I had trouble with the stepmom’s character at first. I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to portray her for a while so all of the scenes with her in them were difficult and came out very flat. I had to go back and rewrite her plotline several times.

Cinder is a young actor. Was there any particular Hollywood inspiration for his character?
No. Not specifically. I just sort of pulled from all the young celebrities you hear about in the media—Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Zac Effron… I can imagine it’s difficult for them, and I remember what it was like to be that age. I don’t think I could have survived fame.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Two things: read and write. First, read a lot. Anything and everything you can get your hands on. You’d be surprised how much you will absorb subconsciously. Second, write, write, and write some more. Like any skill, hobby or talent, practice makes perfect.

What do you enjoy writing more: series or stand-alone?
I definitely prefer stand-alones. It takes a long time to write a book. Months and months of your life. Start piling sequels on top of that and before you know it years have gone by with the same story. It’s easy to get tired of a set of characters. I always have a stand-alone in the works at the same time as the series I work on because I need to be able to change it up. I need new and fresh. There’s also a certain amount of pressure in writing sequels—preset expectations. People will hold you to a higher standard and have an idea of how they think a story should play out. It’s a bit daunting when you sit there staring at the blank screen knowing you have to write the end to a series that people already love and have been waiting years for. It’s not my favorite thing in the world.

What is the hardest part of the writing process?
Being patient, and not giving up when something isn’t working. Your first instinct is to write the first thing that pops into your head, but that’s usually the most cliché way of doing something. And then when you have a first draft done, you want to feel like you’re finished, but you’re actually far far far from the finish line. You want to share it with people, so waiting to make sure you’ve done it right is hard. But it’s necessary!

What is the best part of the writing process?
Being able to create. I am a very imaginative person. There are always a ton of ideas, scenes, and characters fighting for attention in my brain. I love being able to put those thoughts down on paper and watch something solid take shape. I love ending up with a story that I can read and love, and having characters that I can cherish.

What is your favorite Cinderella retelling?
Well I have a favorite book and a favorite movie. For the book, it’s Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer. This is a very cute YA contemporary retelling. I loved the characters and just had fun while reading it. Movie wise I have to go with the Hillary Duff movie, A Cinderella Story. This is again, just too much fun. Hillary is always cute, Jennifer Coolidge is hilarious and hello…Chad Michael Murray? Yes please!

What’s your favorite writing snack?
This is a truly important question. Writers actually get very set in their snacking ways. For me it’s popcorn (original butter and salt flavor), Diet Coke, and Sour Patch Kids. Healthy, I know, but it’s like religion for me. I need my brain food to write!

What made you want to write a Cinderella retelling out of all the other fairy tales?
Easy. Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale. I’ve always known I would write one, it was just a matter of figuring out the way I wanted to do it.

Are you planning on writing any other fairy tale retelling?
It’s a possibility. I have one story that I’m already plotting. There are clues to which fairy tale it is in Cinder & Ella. If you’re paying attention when you read it, you figure it out! But I also have a lot on my plate right now and might not be able to get to it. I’ve got SIX works in progress right now, and my top priority is finishing up both my Jamie Baker series and my Supernaturals series. If I can get those done I might take a look at some more fairy tales. (Assuming no other new story else has consumed my brain by then…)


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Ella’s life was going relatively well. She had a loving mother, a successful book and movie review blog, and Cinder, her internet bestie. A terrible car accident changed all that. Now she is forced to live with the father who abandoned her and his new wife and her children. Even though she is legally old enough to decide for herself, she has no say in the matter. Her injuries from the crash were severe and before she can be allowed to live on her own, she has to prove she is ready for it. Her first step? Reconnect with Cinder. Cinder, AKA hot Hollywood actor Brian Oliver, has a reputation for trouble. His PR team thinks the only way he can be taken seriously as an actor is if the world believes he has settled down a bit. From that, a scheme is born. Fake an engagement with his current co-star is the perfect solution. He’s not happy, but willing to go along, at least until he receives an email from a long lost friend that changes everything.

Ella has the worst luck in the beginning of this novel, or for the most part really. The loss of her mother is bad enough, especially considering how close they were. Add to that, her crippling injuries and the sting of having to live with the woman her dad abandoned her for, and I’m almost surprised she was never truly suicidal. Her relationship with her dad is awkward and rocky to start with, her step-mom seems kinda clueless, and her step-sisters are downright cruel. She has lost everything important to her in one fell swoop and it’s difficult to be optimistic after that. When she emails Cinder, she isn’t expecting much and she is blown away by his response. As their relationship rekindles, she comes a bit more out of her shell. I really loved her and felt bad for her. The scene where she learns her dad donated all her books hit me almost as hard as it hit her. You did what? How could you? How does anyone look at books and think “mmhmm…these can’t be that important to anyone”?

Maybe I’m not normal, but when I see someone’s book collection, that would be the last thought that would enter my mind. Books are precious and especially ones with memories attached to them. I just wanted to hug her and help her and make things better.

Cinder/Brian was a character I didn’t initially love. I realize I have no idea how Hollywood works, but I hated the idea that he would be okay with fake-marrying someone as a publicity stunt. I realize that shit probably does happen, but I can’t get behind it. After we get over that hiccup, though, I loved him. I loved his devotion to Ella and his love for The Cinder Chronicles. Honestly, I’d love any guy passionate enough about a book series to argue with a blogger over it and then fight to play the role in the film adaptation.

Speaking of The Cinder Chronicles, is it real? It’s not, because I did an pretty hardcore search online trying to find it, but can it be? Kelly?

Can you make that happen? Can we have an epic spin-off of this? I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. I think it would be a roaring success. That’s just something for you to think about because I’d seriously love to get my hands on it. It sounds awesome.

I loved the dynamic between Cinder Brian and Ella. I loved their banter and their ability to be there when the other needs it most. I’ve always been sketchy about internet relationships, but this is far from the typical scenario. They didn’t meet in a chatroom or through a weird find-an-internet-buddy site. She wrote a review online and Cinder Brian was riled up enough by it to comment and the resulting argument spurred on the continual contact.****MINOR SPOILER****I was a little surprised that Ella never recognizes his voice once they progress to phone conversations. She has seen his films and knows of him as an actor, so I was expecting at least a minor, he sounds vaguely familiar moment. I recognize voices a lot more than faces, especially in films. I’ll hear someone and recognize the voice, even if the face is unfamiliar. I think Ella should have at least questioned it, because I doubt the distortion of a phone would mask it completely****END SPOILER****

What I (surprisingly) loved was the family relationship. Things are far from perfect, but the further into the story you get, the more you realize that there is no easy answer. Daddy dearest did abandon Ella. Step-Mom is clueless, but she is genuinely trying to help. The step-sisters are both anger at her for different reasons. Anastasia and Juliette (the step-sisters) are mean, but they both have their reasons. It’s clear that as much as I want this to wrap up in a fairy tale way, with the step-family just being the bad guys, that’s not how it’s going to happen. Oram does one step better and humanizes everyone. Even when you hate her family, you can’t help but feel the stress she is putting on their lives.

This is the first of Oram’s novels I’ve read and I can truly say I’m desperate for me. When I started this, I was expecting a cute, fluffy Cinderella retelling and we definitely get that, but we also get so much more. This novel was unputdownable (I know, that’s not a word, but it should be). I was hooked from page one and it physically pained me when I had to put it down for real-life things (you know, work, food, bathroom breaks). It has the perfect balance of heartbreaking and heartwarming. It manages to make you laugh and cry in equal amounts. This is now officially my favorite Cinderella retelling and I hope you all love it as much as I did!

****Thank you to Kelly Oram for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows


Kelly Oram

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat named Mr. Darcy.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Review for Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

TITLE: Darling Beast
SERIES: Maiden Lane #7
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Hoyt
PUBLICATION DATE: October 14, 2014
PAGES: 400 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 4 bows

Lily Stump is London’s best actress, or her alter-ego, Robin Goodfellow, is. However, she recently signed a contract with a new theater causing her to be blacklisted for everyone else. Then said theater burns down and she is out of work and so broke that she has no other choice than to live in the ruins of the burned theater while it’s being renovated. When her son stumbles upon a beast of a man working in the gardens, she is scared at first. After all, the man is huge and could easily harm her and her family. But there is obviously more than meets the eye and she finds herself fascinated with him. She’s right on that account. Apollo’s life is beyond complicated. In fact, he is currently hiding in this garden and working as a simpleton because he is on the run from the law. He escaped Bedlam several months ago, after being sentenced for murders he did not commit. He knows he needs to stay far away from Lily, despite how alluring she is, because fraternizing with her can only lead to trouble. Can the two fight their desires or will they find a way to make it work?

Lily is a bit of an oddity for a historical romance novel heroine. Normally, we get the innocent debutante or spinster. Sometimes we even get the widower whose husband was a dismal lover that never managed to please her. Lily is none of those things. Lily is an actress. For those of you who read historical romances, you know that actresses exist outside of normal society limits and are much more promiscuous. Lily is not the shy virgin. Lily does not lack the knowledge a maiden would. That was very refreshing. From the moment she lays eyes on Appollo, she knows exactly what it is she is feeling and what it means she wants. Not fumbling or explanation necessary. I really enjoyed her character. I liked how down to Earth she seemed and her constant worry over Indio, her son. She’s strong and smart, with enough witty banter to write plays of her own (under an assumed name, naturally). She’s quite the perfect heroine for this tale.

Apollo was also a bit different. For starters, he’s mute for a good bit of the novel. Trauma in Bedlam cause him to lose his voice and it was interesting how much conversation you can get through with just facial expressions. Beyond his inability to speak, it was great watching an aristocrat who thoroughly enjoys manual labor. He works so hard on this garden and even though he’s on the run, he still manages to find a job that he loves. I’m fascinated by that. I can’t do plants. I have had a singular plant in my life and it died rather quickly. I over water or under water or don’t give it enough sun or too much sun or SOMETHING. I just don’t understand them. Beyond that, it’s just obvious that he is intelligent and innocent and I just wanted to see him get justice and his name cleared. I’m not usually a sucker for the strong silent type, I tend to lean towards the slim chatty boy next door, but somehow Apollo still stole my heart.

Plotwise is where I had my issue. It was very entertaining and well thought out and explained, but the tale end of it just felt a bit rushed. You find out all the twists and then the novel is over. You don’t get a grace period to really absorb the ending, it’s just done. Hope you enjoyed it! The thing is, I did enjoy it, and that means I want more. It means I want a bit more falling action. It means I want to see my character enjoy their happy ending just a bit before the curtains close.

What I loved about it was….well, everything else. I loved the characters and how down-to-earth they were. Even though Apollo is an aristocrat by birth, circumstances have taken the snooty attitude out of the equation. If you didn’t know better, you’d never assume he was more than a skilled gardener. I loved that Lily wasn’t just boxed into a standard HR heroine role. Hoyt gives us something a little more out there and a little more controversial than just that. And then there is Indio, who should come off as an annoying kid, but is totally endearing. That little boy stole my heart before Apollo even had the chance.

Beyond the little blip, though, this was pretty great. I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Hoyt before, but I’m definitely planning on reading more by her in the future. Her writing is witty, the banter is hilarious, and she gives you just enough drama to keep you guessing. In a romance, it’s given that the main duo are going to end up together, but it’s nice to get a bit of that will-they-or-won’t-they thing going. It makes it even harder to put down….even when it’s really late at night and you’re eyes are literally falling down between paragraphs because you’re so tired. That’s what you get here, a compelling read that keeps you desperate for just one more chapter!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a physical copy in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for Otherworld Nights (Otherworld Stories #3) by Kelley Armstrong

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

TITLE: Otherworld Nights
SERIES: Otherworld Stories #3
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2014
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 4 bows

This is an anthology of stories set in the world of the Women Of The Otherworld. Let me say first that I have not read any of the novels in this series, despite the fact that a good friend of mine is always singing their praise (or the fact that I’m interested in watching the Bitten show that is based off them). Now, I want to read them even more, especially the one about Hope. These short stories are intriguing and intense, even if all of them don’t end happily.


This one is short and sweet and to the point. It’s the journey of Talia to find out more about her sons abilities and how to help him control them. It’s pretty easy to follow and clear cut. I wanted to know more about this boy. I think it plays out pretty well from my perspective of a newbie. People who have read the series already know about Adam and what he is, but I think it’s readable for either set of people.


I wasn’t a huge fan of this story. It’s about Cassandra trying to make her yearly kill to remain “alive” for another year. It’s an interesting concept, having to kill someone yearly to remain a vampire. For whatever reason, is finding this task more difficult than normal this year. The short was well written, it just bored me a little bit. Typically, when I’m reading an anthology, I try to finish the short in a single sitting, but this one took two to finish because it just didn’t hold my interest.


This was my very first look at Elena, who I know is the start of the fist few books in this series. From this story alone, I wasn’t in love with her. Clay, her mate, is fascinating. I may have liked him more because it was told via his perspective. It’s a story about them taking a honeymoon and being stalked by a stray werewolf. It’s clear from this little tale that these two are completely in love. The hints about their past make me extremely interested in getting my hands on their novel. I image their journey back to each other is far from easy, but hopefully it’ll be worth it.


This story is heartbreaking and therefore my least favorite of the set. It’s about Reese falling in love with a girl and the consequences of that mistake. I can’t really say much without giving it away. I will say that when I started it, I expected it to be my favorite and it turns out that I hate it. I like happy endings. This was the very opposite of that. I realize it’s just Reese’s back story and whatever adventures he takes in the future would not have been possible without this tragic thing, but that doesn’t mean I want to read it and have my heart stomped on.

Lucifer’s Daughter

Ah. This is my favorite. Hope’s story is so interesting that I couldn’t tear myself away. This is possibly the most humorous of the tales, cause me to snort and giggle on more than one occasion. I love the banter between her and Karl. If I didn’t have a need to read stories in order, I’d find a copy of her particular book in the series and devour it quickly. This is the story of a demon being released and the ensuing chaos. It was extremely entertaining.


This story is what made me fall in love with Elena. She’s so strong and tough, but soft and vulnerable. Her love and fierce determination to protect her children is something I think we can all relate to, even if we haven’t had children yet. The way she agonizes over how and when to tell her children that she and Dad are werewolves is endearing. She wants to make the right choice when it’s obvious that there is no right answer. Speaking of her kids, Kate and Logan are amazing. I want a spinoff of their story. Do we ever find out if they turn on their own or not in the normal series? I need to know! Anyway, this is the story of Elena and Clay finding the bad guy and saving their children all before a perfect Christmas morning. This is the longest story in this anthology.

From Russia, With Love

This is another Elena story. It’s just a little tale of the lengths Clay and Elena will go to protect their children, even if the threat isn’t as serious as they originally perceived it to be.

Vanishing Act

Savannah’s story is a bit different than the rest. It’s about her protecting a kid with teleportation abilities, but it’s also about her fixing her relationship with her boyfriend. Things seem perfect and are, in a lot of aspects, but there are problems they are avoiding and the events of this novella make them impossible to set aside any longer. I really enjoyed their story as well as the others and I’m very interested in reading their novel.

Well, there you have it! Those are my thoughts on all the stories. Anthologies aren’t normally a favorite thing of mine. There aren’t many authors who can give me a fully satisfying story in so short a time. They are either rushed or they leave me with unanswered questions or I just feel like they need more. That wasn’t the case with these. Even though I know there are novels written completely about some of these characters, Armstrong manages to tie everything in neatly and give me exactly what I need to follow the stories. I think it’s a great tool to grab someone’s interest and make them want to read the series as a whole!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

TITLE: Black Ice
AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2014
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 392 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Britt has planned her spring break trip hiking the Teton Range for months. She has read survival guides, took classes, and devoured any information that will help her and her best friend Korbie successfully hike through the range. Everything is set to go when Calvin, Korbie’s brother and Britt’s ex, decides he wants to tag along. He head to the cabin early, leaving Britt and Korbie to pull up the rear. But a blizzard strikes while they are driving up and soon they are forced to abandon their car in search for shelter. When they find that shelter, everything changes. They end up stumbling upon Shaun and Mason, criminals who demand Britt get them off this mountain and out of the police’s reach or there will be deadly consequences. Mason is definitely the lesser of two evils, but he is still helping hold her captive. Can she trust him to help her escape death or will she fall prey to the evil he is hiding?

Britt was a character I didn’t particularly like. She seems shallow and so hung up over her ex that it’s not funny. The only reason she wants to hike the Tetons in the first place is because it’s Calvin’s favorite retreat. And from her memories, Calvin was as much of a dick while they were together as he is to her now. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how girls with decent self-esteem can be with guys who are jackasses. That’s a bit hypocritical for me, because I had my jackass moment, but that was long ago and I was very young and stupid. Somehow that doesn’t make me more forgiving of Britt. Besides that, she is dependent upon her dad and brother for everything. She expects the men in her life to swoop in and save her any time she is in trouble and that is far from what happens here. She has to save herself (for the most part), as well as save Korbie. I just wanted to scream at her to grow up.

I can’t go into the details of other characters without giving away spoilers, but I will say I knew who the bad guy was pretty early on. I knew exactly how that twist would play out within the first quarter of the book, so it’s relatively easy to guess. I will also say I liked Jude’s character, once he gets his head out of his ass. I will also say that I was never a fan of Korbie. Useless and whiny and rich, this is a girl who I’d want to punch in the face if I met in real life.

So far, this isn’t sounding like a four-star review, huh? Well then, let’s get on to the things I liked. I loved how readable this novel was and the intensity. I’m not a huge fan of thriller novels because they usually have a lot of character death and we all know my feelings on that. Here, there are a few, but no one I lament being rid of. I also loved the one thing everyone else seems to dislike, the happy ending. After everything Britt goes through, I think she deserves that ride off into the sunset and I loved that everything worked out as well as can be expected instead of descending into the typical thriller ending of “hey, I survivied, so that’s the best I can hope for, right?” type ending. Those are another big reason I don’t read thrillers, I like overtly happy endings and we get that here.

I do like that Britt actually trained to hike the Tetons and did just run into hoping everything would work out. She planned and packed and purchased plenty of gear to prepare herself for this adventure. She even went so far as to build herself up to being able to carry a fully loaded pack without issue.

I’ll admit that I didn’t really read deeply into the synopsis when I requested this. I saw Becca’s name and the cover and knew I’d need to read it. I really loved Hush Hush (even though I’m not as much of a fan of Crescendo or Silence and I’m terrified to read Finale) and I was interested to see what Becca did with a thriller. I think she succeeded and that this will be a raging success, as long as people realize this is completely different than Hush Hush. This is realistic thriller with dark moments and death, but with the happy ending you all secretly hope for.

****Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for Stray (Untitled #1) by Elissa Sussman

Stray by Elissa Sussman

TITLE: Stray
SERIES: Untitled #1
AUTHOR: Elissa Sussman
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2014
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 3 bows

Princess Aislynn has spent her life trying to follow her Path. This dictates that she will refrain from using magic because only wicked girls do that and she will await her 16th birthday with grace and dignity. Upon that day, she’ll meet many suitors and must find one to marry within a year or she will be Redirected to life as a fairy god-mother. But Aislynn has a difficult time adhering to the rules because her magic is powerful and hard to keep under control. She will not deviate from her Path, no matter how her body craves the magic and all will work out well, right?

Aislynn was a character that I felt extremely bad for. She is constantly getting the short end of the stick and she doesn’t really do anything to deserve it. It’s not like she can stop the magic flowing through her veins or prevent the awful teasing that pushes her over the edge. The problem was that even though I could sympathize with her, I really didn’t care about her. I spent a good deal of the novel confused as to who the bad guy was and why was magic so bad to really spend time getting behind Aislynn’s issues. Yes, life for her sucks, but I’ve got more important things to work out here!

That was a problem for me is that I don’t understand the bad guys motives completely. Maybe I’m just dense, but I don’t get it! It felt a bit too political for my YA tastes (or for my tastes in general because I don’t care for politics). I also felt like it was very slow. The things that were occurring were of interest, but they felt like they were happening in slow-motion. I just wanted to put things in fast-forward. I had a difficult time stopping myself from skipping ahead because I just didn’t want to hear the endless amounts of stuff being said or done. I was also expecting something fairy-tale-esque and I feel like I was letdown. The story has magical and fairy godmothers, but fairy-tales are about more than that.

It gets 3 stars because the writing was good and the characters were interesting. Also because it’s not difficult to read. This was not a novel I had to force myself to continue with. I kept going because I wanted to see how it would end and I needed to know what happened next. Unfortunately, when I requested this, I didn’t realize it was the first book of a series so I was not expecting yet another cliffhanger. I was not happy about that, if you couldn’t tell. I think that was part of my problem, is I was expected a stand-alone, so I wanted everything to be laid out and explained all within this novel and we don’t get that because there has to be content for the next book and the one after that, so we can’t be giving away all the secrets up front.

All in all, this is an interesting novel with a great concept, it just wasn’t all that I was expecting it to be. It’s marketed as a new fairy tale but it doesn’t deliver on that level and the plot takes so long to get into that I wondered a time or two if I was ever going to understand what was going on. There is a bit of romance mixed in for my love story lovers, but it’s very downplayed. There is only a little humor, so don’t expect to be giggling while Aislynn makes her journey. This is a decent novel, I was just expecting so much more. Maybe you’ll disagree!

****Thank you to Greenwillow for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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Review for Girl On A Wire by Gwenda Bond

Girl On A Wire by Gwenda Bond

TITLE: Girl On A Wire
AUTHOR: Gwenda Bond
PUBLICATION DATE: October 1, 2014
PAGES: 370 pages
FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: Amazon Prime First
RATING: 4.5 bows

Jules Maroni has been training and performing as a wire walker her entire life. Her father is the world’s best and she desperately wants to follow in his footsteps. When the Maroni’s are offered a spot in the new Cirque American, she knows all her dreams are about to come true. But the Flying Garcia’s, a rival family of trapeze artists have her grandmother worried that old rumors and bad accidents will occur. Jules thinks she is being superstitious until a bad luck charm ends up on her costume and almost makes her fall. Forced to consider the impossible, she confides in the most unlikely ally, Remy Garcia. They are supposed to be mortal enemies, but he is the only one who can help and together they are determined to find out who is behind the pranks. Can they unlock the mystery before it’s too late?

Jules is someone I envy greatly. To have the guts and the courage to step out onto a wire is an awesome thing. I’ve never been scared of heights, but some of the things she does terrifies even me. I’m sure training from an early age does a lot to eradicate some of that fear, but just reading about her stunts gave me chills. I loved reading about how close-knit this family was. We get a lot of dysfunctional families in YA (and especially in NA), but even though we see a bit of tension, Jules’ loves her family and they love her. It was also nice to see a family who knew how to trust their teenager. Mom and Dad don’t try to lock her up in an ivory tower to keep her out of trouble. Instead, they believe her when she claims to be ready for her outdoor walks and they trust her to keep herself out of trouble. Want to know something else I loved? She’s flawed. She’s not perfect. Things happen and she reacts the best she can, but it’s not always the right answer.

Remy is the opposite of a lady’s man. He stays focused on his act and doesn’t mess around. He could easily live up that Romeo image because he has the looks and the body to go with it, but he doesn’t. He plays it off. He’s such a sweet guy and I loved that he didn’t spend every moment chasing after women. He is also dedicated to his family. Things with his mom are rocky, but his siblings are everything to him. He spends a great deal of time with them, practicing their act, trying to get things right. It’s hard to really articulate what I loved about him. He’s so different from your typical YA male that I can’t even make a comparison.

All the other characters were memorable and lovable, especially Dita and Sam. They each bring something new and interesting to the table. Maybe they all fascinated me because I love reading about circuses and the people who make them come to life, but either way, I loved them all. I just think circuses are so interesting. These people work and sweat and work on their craft when their craft is some crazy feat of strength or endurance or balance. The amount of practice and training that goes into wire walking or trapeze or animal training is so extensive that I cannot even begin to fathom it. Remy spends his nights in the big tent trying and trying to make a quad happen. Several hours every single night, on top of his daily practices with his siblings. That kind of determination just astounds me.

Plot-wise, this gets even more kudos from me because I didn’t see the bad guy coming. I had it pegged as someone completely different. It makes complete sense, once it’s all revealed, so maybe I should have seen it coming. The whole mystery unfolds beautifully. Bond manages to balance the perfect amount of mystery and romance in this magical story.

There was only really one issue. There is a death, a very depressing death. From a logical stand-point, I understand the death. I know it was necessary. I completely get that it was the only way to push the story in the direction it needed to go and to truly get Jules to believe in magic. I get that, but that doesn’t make me any less sad. That doesn’t make my tears any less real. On that front, the death accomplished it’s job to make me feel beautifully because I did and I do and even writing this now, I’m tearing up. It’s such a tragic one and it effects so many people and…just damn. Considering I gave Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep a one star rating due to an animal death (a bit extreme, but it really really upset me), knocking off half a star for this traumatic death isn’t that bad. I still kinda feel bad, but I try to be as honest as possible.

Besides the death, I loved everything about this. I love the setting, I love the characters, I love the mysterious plot, I love the lure, and I especially love the cover. It’s completely perfect for this book. It’s hard to find a good circus tale. I feel like everyone is fascinated by them, but few authors broach the subject. I don’t know why that is exactly, but I know I have only read a handful of novels on the subject and they have all been spectacular. This goes right up there with Water For Elephants for me, maybe even a notch higher. Gwenda has a way of writing that captivates you from the moment you start the novel. Her book is fascinating enough that I ignored what I should have been reading all week to finish this. It was entirely worth it. If you are interested in circus lore, getting behind of the eyes of a fearless heroine, or are just looking for something a little different than what you’ve read before, this is the book for you!

5 bowshalf a bow
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