Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (14): Fire and Ash


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I'm in the middle of reading the third book of the Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry, and I am loving it. I am trying to savor it until the fourth and final book, Fire and Ash, comes out. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. I love Maberry's take on zombies and the depth of these wonderful books. The first book is Rot and Ruin and I loved it.

FIRE AND ASH
(Book 4 of the Benny Imura series)
By Jonathan Maberry
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Fire and Ash (Benny Imura, #4)
 
Book Blurb (Don't read if you haven't read the previous books):
Benny Imura and his friends have made it to Sanctuary, they've found the jet and they've discovered that civilization is struggling to regain its foothold in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. Scientists are on the verge of finding a cure for the zombie plague. It should be time for celebration, but it's not. Benny's best friend, Chong, has been infected by an arrow dipped in the flesh of a zombie and he hovers between life and death and Dr McReady, a researcher who may have the critical formula for a cure, has gone missing. So Benny convinces Captain Ledger to mount a search and rescue mission to find the doctor and help Chong. But with the Reapers still pursuing their plan to turn all zombies into super-fast shock troops even if they can save Chong, can they save themselves? In the fourth book of the thrilling and emotionally charged Rot & Ruin series, the battle to end all battles is about to begin...


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Complete Me by J. Kenner


Complete Me (Stark Trilogy, #3)
Complete Me by J. Kenner
(Book #3 of Stark Trilogy)
July 30, 2013
Bantam Publishing
320 pages
Genre: Adult Erotic Romance
(for Mature audience only)
Source: NetGalley for honest review
Book Blurb:
This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful multimillionaire who’s never had to take “no” for an answer, and Nikki Fairchild, the Southern belle who only says “yes” on her own terms.

Our desire runs deep. But our secrets cut close. Beautiful, strong, and commanding, Damien Stark fills a void in me that no other man can touch. His fierce cravings push me beyond the brink of bliss—and unleash a wild passion that utterly consumes us both.

Yet beneath his need for dominance, he carries the wounds of a painful past. Haunted by a legacy of dark secrets and broken trust, he seeks release in our shared ecstasy, the  heat between us burning stronger each day.

Our attraction is undeniable, our obsession inevitable. Yet not even Damien can run from his ghosts, or shield us from the dangers yet to come.
My Review:

My Review of book 1: Release Me (here)
My Review of book 2: Claim Me (here)

I definitely enjoyed the conclusion to this trilogy. (Actually, I liked all the books.) I am happy to say that Complete Me really brought together all the components of these books that I've enjoyed and mostly completed Damien and Nikki's story for me. The story picks up right before Damien's trial, and we are immediately returned to the dynamics of Damien and Nikki's relationship. Nikki has completely opened up, but now we must wait and see if Damien will finally become the open book we've been hoping for and reveal all his secrets (and if Nikki can handle it).

For me, the story felt a bit like a scavenger hunt, trying to put together the bits and pieces of the mess we were left with before as well as any new revelations revealed in the rest of our story. I felt like I was right there with Nikki figuring things out, putting it all together. And there's a lot going on - Damien's trial, Nikki's stalker, Jamie and Ollie's messes, Damien's secrets, and other mysteries. There is also lots of sex - creative sex, steamy sex, and the ever heated connection between Damien and Nikki. At some point I actually felt like there was too much sex in the first half of the book, because it seemed like we went from one heated moment to the next, while the overall story slowed down. I guess I just really wanted to see where the rest of the story was going. But with that said, the sex scenes are well done, so you won't be disappointed there; and if you're waiting for the plot to continue, be patient and enjoy the moment, because the story will continue... just after another romp or two (or three).

I also liked reading where Damien and Nikki's relationship was going. J. Kenner made them and their kindred spirit connection even more believable than in the other books. I did feel that Nikki's internal dramatics were a bit repetitive at times, but on the other hand I truly felt her wrestling her demons and learning her place alongside Damien, while at the same time trying to get him to finally, completely open up to her. Honestly, some of what they (especially Damien) deal with is completely heartbreaking, and I admire how it was handled. Theirs is not an easy relationship, but watching them come together and find their place together is a wild ride, full of angst and love, heartbreak and healing, and I couldn't help but root for them.

Overall, I felt like J. Kenner pulled this trilogy together really well, and created a great couple in Damien and Nikki. I'm already planning on rereading this trilogy. I also liked where she ended things. It left me in a satisfied place, though an epilogue would have been a bonus that I would have really enjoyed. I also have questions about some of the other characters and wonder if the author will write some books about them (hint hint). But overall this was an emotional and passionate conclusion to Damien and Nikki's very heartfelt trilogy.

4 STARS

Book Links:
AMAZON   *   GOODREADS

Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: LICK by Kylie Scott


Lick (Stage Dive, #1)
LICK by Kylie Scott
(Stage Dive #1)
July 1, 2013
Momentum publishing
286 pages
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
(contains sexual situations, mature language, drugs/alcohol)
Source: NetGalley for honest review
Book Blurb:
Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is for certain, being married to rock and roll’s favorite son is sure to be a wild ride.

My Review:

I really loved this book. The story starts with a bang - waking up in Vegas, hung over, married to a guy you not only don't remember marrying, but you don't even know his name. Yeah, talk about awkward. Then we are fully engulfed in the crazy, unique situation that is Evelyn and David's relationship. Honestly, I really enjoyed just about every bit of this book. The pacing kept me fully engaged, and not knowing quite which way things were going to go with the dynamic duo kept me guessing and hoping. I loved their story and when I finished it I just wanted more.

I absolutely loved Evelyn. She was a real girl with real curves and a real personality. There was something so special about her, that I could completely see how a guy would fall for her. The fact that she was not a cookie-cutter-model just made her that much better. From the start I could tell there was more to David Ferris than meets the eye, and I really enjoyed the journey getting to know him, even when that journey was rough. David completely won me over. He's so much more than just a good-looking rockstar. Plus, we get David's bandmates, who were a total mixed bag, but between them and Evelyn's best friend, and even her brother, we get an added depth and fullness to the story. And since this appears to be the first book in a series, I can only hope that the next books will feature David's bandmates individually. I really hope.

The sex scenes were so completely honest and I found that to be so refreshing. Evelyn is very inexperienced, and I loved being in her head, debating the feelings of each new experience. Again, Evelyn is real, so it made all her experiences be portrayed as real, and I loved it. But even with the awkward bits, the scenes between Evelyn and David were full of hot chemistry. I also loved that they were married (I'm traditional like that). And I loved Evelyn and David to pieces.

Bottomline: I completely loved LICK, with it's great characters, real sex, and enchanting storyline. This appears to be the first of a series, and if that's the case I will happily pick up the next one when it comes out.

5 STARS

Book Links:
AMAZON   *   GOODREADS

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (22)

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Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Not a lot of new books for me this week, but the ones I got are awesome, so no complaints here.

WON:
Arouse (Spiral of Bliss, #1)  Allure (Spiral of Bliss, #2)
 
Arouse by Nina Lane (signed) - my review
Allure by Nina Lane (signed) - my review
"There's no place like home" Necklace from Nina Lane
 
From Publisher:
This Girl (Slammed, #3)  Complete Me (Stark Trilogy, #3)
 
This Girl by Colleen Hoover (paperback) - my review
Complete Me by J. Kenner (paperback)
 
On Kindle:
Thief (Love Me With Lies, #3)
 
Thief by Tarryn Fisher - my review

On Audible:
Dust and Decay (Benny Imura, #2)

Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human

Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance (Knitting in the City, #1)
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
(Knitting in the City #1)
March 13, 2013
Caped Publishing
400 pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.
My Review:

From the very start, this book had me. We enter with Janie on the worst day of her life. But despite the misery and mishaps (or because of them), I was instantly hooked on the unique humor and hilarity used by the author. Not only was this story funny, quirky, and romantic, but the characters, Janie in particular, made it oh so much more enjoyable and fun to read.

I adored Janie. She is such a refreshing change of heroine. She has not only a unique look to her, but unique personality and intellect as well. She was weird and quirky and I loved it. Plus the whole way she processed things mentally was hilarious, then frustrating, then hilarious all over again. Quinn was the strong, mysterious type, but oh so patient with Janie. I loved their interactions. Janie's random trivia facts were so out-of-left-field at times and yet Quinn remained incredibly patient listening to her. I liked that they were honestly interested in the quirks of the other person. I also liked that Janie was appreciated by her true friends in her knitting circle, as well as Quinn, for just being herself. 

I truly enjoyed watching Janie and Quinn work through their relationship, through the miscommunications, through the drama and interference, and through their raw chemistry. I loved how they were written and how they each brought something to the table, saw the realness and brought out the best in the other. There was never a dull moment for me.

I loved this book, loved Janie and Quinn, and loved Penny Reid's sense of humor and writing style. This was book one of the Knitting in the City series, and I can't wait for the rest of the books in the series.

5 STARS

Book Links:
AMAZON   *   GOODREADS

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review & Tour: Blood Entangled


Blood Entangled (Blood Vine #2)
Blood Entangled by Amber Belldene
(Blood Vine #2)
July 23, 2013
Omnific Publishing
298 pages
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Contains: Sexual scenes including M/F, M/M, F/F, language, violence
Source: eARC for honest review
Book Blurb:
KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.  
From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another. 
Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?
My Review:

Find my review for book one here: BLOOD VINE.

Once again Amber has pulled me into this world with the characters I love and a non-stop story. I had a hard time putting this book down and read the first two books of this series in three days. Don't let the book blurb fool you, however. It's focus is on Kos and Lena, but once again we get to see all our favorite (or infamous) characters once again, along with some newbies thrown in, who have me quite intrigued with what will be happening in the future. But really, and this is not a complaint, but I'd say this book is probably closer to 55% Kos and Lena, 35% Pedro and Lucas, 10% everyone else, with crossing over between characters. This is just a rough estimate, but you get the idea that we really get two main romantic stories along with an overall story. All of this combined makes for a fascinating, full-bodied read.

Knowing Kos and Lena's history from the first book, we know their road will not be one travelled lightly or easily. There's a whole lotta mess to trudge through. But with their histories and past hurts, travel they must. I really liked their relationship, especially when it wasn't being weighed down by insecurity or misunderstanding or past hurts. Honestly, I wanted to smack Kos on the head a few times for being so stupid, but the boy had to wake up on his own. Some of the things that happened really broke my heart and frustrated me. I commend Lena on being a better person that I would have been. But the entire time I could not help but route for Kos and Lena and their love. What I also loved was that it wasn't just the two of them, but also how they fit into the big family picture. I love that these vampires and their housemates are a family and truly love each other.

There is also the secondary story of Pedro and Lucas, whom we also know their history from the first book. I like both Pedro and Lucas's characters and liked the layers that they brought to the story. The whole falling-for-your-enemy thing is always fun. I also found the complications to their situation really interesting, not just on a relationship level, but also how the Hunter blood thing will play out in the larger plot of the story. Now honestly, I am not a reader of M/M or F/F intimate scenes. These types of scenes are in this book in far more detail than in the first book. But whether intentionally or not, Amber made these scenes easy for me to skim or skip and not lose anything important from the storyline. I appreciated that the reader has the option to read or not read these intimate scenes without missing out. 

Once again, I liked not just the great cast of characters, but the gripping plot that completely held my attention. Even when I wanted to shake sense into Kos, I still didn't want to put it down. Amber continued to throw twists and turns in that kept me on my toes, and my head in the game thinking about everything going on. I think my jaw even dropped a few times with a "Did that just happen?" going through my mind. Not only are we still dealing with the wine issues and the crazy Hunters, but now there's a new thing or two that I did not see coming. I commend Amber on her creativity and unpredictability and can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Bottomline: This second book of the Blood Vine series had my complete attention with characters I love and a non-stop plot that kept me in its grips with its twists and turns. I'm very excited for the next book!
 
5 STARS

Purchase Links:


Tour-Wide Giveaway: 

Numerous Winners
Signed paperback of Blood Vine (Blood Vine #1)
Ebook of Blood Entangled (gifted from Amazon)
Swag magnets and wine glasses
 

About the Author:
Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.
Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths.  Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the
heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.
 
Social Media Links:
Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads  *  Website
 
Follow the Tour here:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review: Blood Vine


Blood Vine (Blood Vine #1)
Blood Vine by Amber Belldene
(Blood Vine #1)
January 8, 2013
Omnific Publishing
290 pages
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
(contains sexual scenes, violence, language)
Source: eCopy for honest review
Book Blurb:

In Blood Vine, bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign.

When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can’t forget. After her husband’s suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?

Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey’s PR expertise to reach them. After his wife’s death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.

His secrets stall her PR plans. Her jealousy is stoked by the blissed-out beauties leaving his bedroom. At every turn, he utterly fails to resist her. When she discovers he is a vampire, will she be lost to the golden-eyed Hunters, or lose herself to the emptiness in her heart, before she can help him save his kind?


My Review:

What really worked for me in this novel was the cast of characters. I love well-developed characters as well as characters that I honestly like. I got both in Blood Vine. I really and truly like this bunch of vampires and their "assistants" (for lack of a better word). Even with Andre's rough nature at times, I instantly liked him and wanted to know everything about him. Not only is he intriguing on his own, but I loved his relationship with his sons. This family drew me right in. Plus the other "housemate" secondary characters bring their own personalities and intrigue to the story. Amber really did an amazing job making these characters multi-dimensional, intriguing, empathy-inducing, and real, despite the fact that they are paranormal "people." Even the "bad guys" have dimension and depth and I want to know more about them. These characters scored big with me and make me want to read whatever other stories about them that are planned.

What also worked for me was the whole storyline. Even with great characters, if the story is lame then the characters are a waste. That was not a problem here. I have read several vampire books and I imagine as a writer it is difficult to come up with a new or creative plot. Amber's story of exiled vampires being bound to their homeland and the potential of this special wine to save them was really interesting. I loved the interweaving of winemaking and "chemistry" throughout the story. I also appreciated the community aspect of how much these vampires loved their fellow vampires and wanted to help them. This was also a great way to get to know the Hunters and their link to the vampires. The Hunter aspect was really intriguing, and I loved reading their history with the vampires but also knowing there is so much more we don't know about them but will find out in later books. I will remain spoiler-free, but I will say that I had a difficult time putting this book down and was immediately engulfed in this world that Amber created. I never felt like there was a dull moment - the tension between the characters completely drew me in, the plot development was multi-layered, and the action scenes felt real and were even quite brutal at times. There were twists and turns and I loved it all.

And of course there is romance. I enjoyed watching the attraction and interest between Andre and Zoey play out. They both have personal histories that have complicated their perception of relationships and even their desire to have them. I really appreciated how the aspects of their pasts and present played out. Their inner conflict felt honest and realistic. Their chemistry was pouring off the pages. But the real beauty was how they understood each other and made each other better. But would all those good things be enough to get past the differences between them? I really loved watching how all this played out.

Bottomline: I loved the start of this series. The characters were the highlight for me, as well as an intriguing plot that drew me right in, and clean writing. I don't know how many book there will be, but I plan on starting the next one immediately.
 
5 STARS

Book Links:
AMAZON   *   GOODREADS



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: THIEF by Tarryn Fisher

Thief (Love Me With Lies, #3)
THIEF by Tarryn Fisher
(Love Me With Lies #3)
July 21, 2013
232 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Personal purchase
 
Book Blurb:

Note to Self

Love is patient; love is kind.
Love doesn't boast or brag.
There's no arrogance in love;
it's never rude, crude, or indecent-it's not self absorbed.
Love isn't easily upset.
Love doesn't tally wrongs.
Love trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
Love will never become obsolete.
I'll fight for her.

Thief


Caleb Drake never got over his first love. Not when he got married. Not when she got married. When life suddenly comes full circle Caleb must decide how how far he is willing to go to get the aloof and alluring Olivia Kaspen back. But for every action in life there is a consequence, and soon Caleb finds out that sometimes love comes at an unbearably high price.

My Review:

THIEF was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, and it did not disappoint. I finished reading it before bedtime and then spent the rest of the night dreaming about it. That's a sign of a great book! Tarryn Fisher has an amazing way of writing about the ugly side of people, of relationships, of love, and yet still leaving her readers with that twinge of hope that something good must come out of all that ugliness. Or maybe that's just the way I work. I cannot function without hope. Though if you've read my review of The Opportunist, you'll recall I was a complete wreck after that book. But after Dirty Red I had to have hope, though I was open to the possibility that there may not be any hope for Caleb and Olivia. That's the other appeal of Tarryn's writing - you never really know what direction she's going to take things. It's completely unpredictable, and I love it.
 
"You are worth fighting for. I haven't given up yet."

In TO I honestly didn't really like Caleb or Olivia. In DR my guard came down about Caleb and I was feeling better about him, though I still had so many questions. But in THIEF I was finally able to get the big picture, the complete picture, of Caleb and Olivia, through Caleb's eyes. Where Olivia's POV was self-destructive and Leah's was selfish and evil, Caleb finally gives us the honesty I had been hoping for, and I could finally say that I like Caleb. Okay, I love Caleb. I finally love Caleb.
 
"Olivia is a piece of art. You have to know how to interpret her, how to see the beauty under the harsh lines of her personality."

Caleb's love for Olivia shines through in this novel. What I love is that we get his honest, real view of Olivia from the moment they meet beneath that tree to the very end, and all the beauty and horror in between. And there is a lot of trauma to be dealt with. A lot! But Caleb sees who Olivia truly is. He sees her faults, her lies, her walls, her beauty, her triumphs, her fears, her flaws... he sees her. And despite everything, he forgives her and loves her unconditionally.

"I've got more of her in my veins than blood."
 
Caleb fights for Olivia. But once again, Caleb fights differently than Olivia and Leah. This is just another reason he endeared me to him in this book. I wouldn't go so far to say that he fights completely fair. But he fights honestly. He fights with his heart. He doesn't fight with vengeance or revenge. But Caleb and Olivia have been fighting an uphill battle for many, many years. And what they have to fight even goes beyond the two of them. But they needed this. If it were easy it wouldn't be them. I love and hate that Tarryn threw so much their way, but the best victories are the ones you have to work for.
 
"I see the world in different shades of Olivia."

I will not giveaway spoilers of what exactly goes on in the book, what obstacles are thrown in, who is or isn't involved, or how things turn out. But I will say that all my questions were answered, including questions I didn't even know I had. I felt complete closure. Did I love everything that happened? No. I felt so many emotions reading this book: frustration, anger, indignance, hope, fear, compassion, heartache, and love. But I also really appreciated the themes of consequences to past actions, but also forgiveness and redemption. Isn't that what we all want? To know that when we mess up there's someone out there who still loves us, forgives us, and sees the positive in us.

"Maybe our souls touched underneath that tree. Maybe I decided to love her. Maybe love wasn't our choice."

Bottomline: This is truly a remarkable series and THIEF is the amazing conclusion I'd been hoping for. Perhaps not everything ended the way I'd hoped, but what Tarryn pulled off is beyond what I imagined and for that I am thankful. Caleb and Olivia's love is raw, rough, and real. It's heart-breaking and heart-healing. I felt satisfied with the ending and the way it remained true to the continuity of the story. Tarryn doesn't do rainbows and unicorns. She does real. And I salute her beautiful triumph with THIEF. Thank you, Tarryn!

5+ STARS

BOOK LINKS:
 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Charmed by Cambria Hebert

Charmed (Death Escorts, #2)
Charmed by Cambria Hebert
(Death Escorts #2)
July 22, 2013
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Contains: Sexual situations, mature language
(much hotter than Recalled - you've been warned)
Source: eARC for honest review
Book Blurb:

Life or Death? Not many people would choose death. But what if death chooses you? What if death doesn’t mean the end of your life, but the beginning?  
For a Death Escort, death is life. Death is your paycheck. Death is your job.
And Charming is the best Escort the Grim Reaper has ever had.
But when you piss off the Reaper, being the best doesn’t matter. So Charming is assigned a Target who is practically impossible to kill. He knows the Reaper hopes he fails—that he’s counting on it. So Charming vows to prove him wrong. He vows to make the kill. 
But someone else vows to get in his way. Someone with a big mouth, a sugar habit, and blond hair. Someone who makes his heart start beating again.
And so Charming is left holding more than one person’s fate in the palm of his hand. He thought the choice would be easy, that there really wasn’t a question at all.
He was wrong.
Life or Death?


My Review:

If you've read Recalled, the first Death Escorts book, you may recall meeting Charming and Frankie. But if you have not read Recalled, have no fear, you don't need to in order to enjoy this book and get caught up in the storyline. Charming and Frankie's interactions in Recalled are reviewed enough for you to get on pace with the story. But I loved Recalled and it is the book that made me fall in love with this unique series, so if you haven't read it yet, I do recommend going back to it. You can find my review of Recalled here.

Back to Charmed: First, let me say that I love this series. There is just something so unique and fresh about it. The storyline is quite fascinating and I love that I have no idea which direction Cambria Hebert is going to take us, especially after reading Recalled. I feel like I have no guarantees with how things will turn out at the end of each book. Not that there are cliffhangers. Thanks to Cambria for no cliffhangers! But the books end in a way to close out one part of the story, but there is so much more story to be told and I can't wait to read more. We're dealing with the Grim Reaper for Pete's sake; that dude cannot be quickly dismissed. There were lots of twists and turns with the plot throughout that kept me guessing until the very end. I loved that I was never completely sure of what would happen next or how things would end.

I love that we get to know the cold-hearted Death Escort, Charming, that we met in Recalled. On the surface he is one way - he has to be; it's his job to be charming, cold, and lethal - but every onion has its layers and Charming is no exception. Cambria reveals his layers one at a time and I loved it. And I loved that Frankie played such an important role in revealing who Charming was buried beneath all that cold exterior. And Frankie herself was a fantastic heroine. She's funny, quirky, curvy, and fun, but she's also loyal, feisty, compassionate, and genuine. They also had terrific chemistry, which is apparent from the build-up of all their sexual tension and obvious attraction. And their scenes together-together were quite hot. These are a big step up from Recalled, which was much milder. Fortunately this attraction is more than skin deep.

The interactions and reactions between Charming and Frankie felt honest and real. The world they are involved in is not one that can be easily dismissed or swept under the rug - they're dealing with death after all. They have so much to deal with in regards to the past and present, in regards to individual and potential "couple" needs, in regards to outside factors (like the ever-persistent G.R.). I loved the honesty about how they each had to struggle with the decisions and choices put before them. I also loved how barriers and walls and facades were broken down. What was really fun is reading how their revelations came about, particularly Charming's, and the seriousness but especially the great humor and wit interwoven throughout the book, to guide these revelations.

Bottomline: I loved Charmed. I loved the characters, the story, the twists and turns. It kept me on my toes, kept me fully engaged (until me eyes hurt from reading), and kept me coming back for more. This book has both humor and seriousness, and the blend of the two really drew me in as a reader. I felt satisfied with where the book ended and didn't feel tortured by an unnecessary cliffhanger (as some authors are in the habit of doing). What more can I say except that I can't wait for the next installment of this series!

5 STARS

Book Links:
AMAZON   *   GOODREADS
 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (21)

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Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

New Books:
Left Drowning  Beta (Annex, #1)
 
Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Beta by Rachel Cohn
 
For Review:
Blood Vine (Blood Vine #1)  Blood Entangled (Blood Vine #2)  Me Before You
 
Blood Vine by Amber Belldene
Blood Entangled by Amber Belldene
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
 
New Kindle Books:
Frigid (Frigid, #1)  Slide (Slide, #1)  In The Stillness
 
Shine Not Burn  The Visions of Ransom Lake  Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)
 
Frigid by J. Lynn
Slide by Jill Hathaway
In the Stillness by Andrea Randall
Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey
The Visions of Ransom Lake by Marcia Lynn McClure
Pivot Point by Kasie West
 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Quickie Review: Anguish

I find that I'm not always able to give a full-blown, in-depth review of all the books I read. But that doesn't mean they aren't worthy of a proper review or shout-out. It just means my time is limited. So I will be doing the occasional QUICKIE REVIEW, providing my thoughts in a few short but sweet sentences on some of my reads, because I still want to honor these books in some way. I hope you find these helpful.
 

AnguiSH
Anguish by Lila Felix
June 11, 2013
230 pages
Genre: New Adult
Source: Personal purchase
 
Book Blurb:
Anguish was the status quo, until she walked in. 
Breaker James Collins is confined in a prison of his own making. Scarred doesn’t begin to define his hell since finding out his girlfriend had cheated, stolen, and lied two years ago. It led to a single event—one that would blacken his days and his nights from then on. Since then, he hasn’t left his house, crippled by fear of people and any social interaction. 
Ashland talks too much and has the voice of a meth-laden prairie dog, or so she’s always been told. She’s been called annoying and irritating all of her life and gave up on having friends for a long time. College has given her a new lease on a social life and she’s embraced who she is. But now she’s waiting for the one guy who can take her breath away and put up with her antics.  
A simple note pinned to a corkboard will lead Ash right to Breaker’s solitary world and she will learn that just because a guy doesn’t fit her ideal, doesn’t mean she won’t fall head over feet in love.
My Review:

I really enjoyed this story. It was nice for once to read about a boy with an anxiety disorder and not just the girl. Breaker was a very endearing character, and his journey felt very real. My neighbor growing up was agoraphobic (still is) so I know these disorders exist. Ash was his sunshine, and I loved that while she has also endured difficult things in her past, those things have made her stronger. The interactions between Breaker and Ash were well-paced, with such tenderness and honesty, appealing to my romantic side as well as my empathetic side as my heart broke over Breaker's struggles. I loved watching their relationship develop and how good they were together, yet also how they needed to be strong without each other as well. It was also refreshing that this was a New Adult book that had romantic moments, but did not rely on heavy sexual scenes to get the love between the characters across. This was my first Lila Felix book, and I look forward to reading more.

4 STARS

Book Links:
AMAZON   *   GOODREADS
 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feature & Follow (15): Reading Spot

FF 2012 Feature & Follow #120

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by both Alison Can Read and Parakunkee’s View. This is a great way to gain blog followers for book bloggers, follow other blogs, and get to know each other. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we get to answer. You can find more info about this meme here.

Q: Book Vacay: Where is the best destination reading spot for you? (Where do you like to go to read other then your home?)
 
I'll be honest. I can read just about anywhere. With three loud, active, fun-loving sons, I don't exactly get a lot of quiet time at home, and vacations tend to be family-oriented, so I have learned to adapt. I can read in the bathroom or the kitchen; I can read while my husband is driving or listen to an audiobook with the kids; I can read in a grocery store aisle or while my in-laws watch a western on TV. But what is really the best is a quiet place, somewhere outdoors with a comfy seat and cool drink or at a cafĂ© on a big cozy chair with a cup of hot tea, without the usual distractions.
 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten (15): Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
For more information and a list of past and future topics, go here.
 
Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition
(authors listed in alphabetical order)
 
Jus Accardo
This is a great supernatural series.
 Touch (Denazen, #1)  Toxic (Denazen, #2)  Tremble (Denazen, #3)
 
Fisher Amelie
I absolutely adore her books.
Vain (The Seven Deadly Series, #1)  Callum & Harper (Sleepless, #1)  Thomas & January (Sleepless, #2)
 
Jay Crownover
I loved these sexy books with great characters.
Rule (Marked Men, #1)  Jet (Marked Men, #2)
 
Tarryn Fisher
This series seriously messed with my mind and I loved it.
The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies, #1)  Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies, #2)
 
Cambria Hebert
She's a great writer and I'm finding more of her books to read.
Masquerade (Heven and Hell, #1)  Recalled (Death Escorts, #1)
 
Wendy Higgins
This is one of the best series I've read.
Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)  Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy, #2)
 
Elizabeth Kirke
These little gems have great characters and storylines.
Semester Aboard (More than Magic, #1)  Snow Bound (More than Magic, #2)
 
Craig Lancaster
Two of my favorite reads this year!
600 Hours of Edward  Edward Adrift
 
Nina Lane
This is an amazing, unique series following a married couple.
Arouse (Spiral of Bliss, #1)  Allure (Spiral of Bliss, #2)
 
Penny Reid 
This was such a treat to read. Sweet story with great laughs.
Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance (Knitting in the City, #1)