Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (17): Books I Read in 2013

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 Books I Read in 2013
(Authors listed in alphabetical order.)

Young Adult:
Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa
Throne of Glass (& Crown of Midnight) by Sarah J. Maas
Sentinel (Covenant, #5) Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3) Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy, #2)
The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2) Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
New Adult/Adult:
Vain by Fisher Amelie
Thief by Tarryn Fisher
Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Neanderthal Seeks Human (& Friends Without Benefits) by Penny Reid
Find You in the Dark (& Light in the Shadows) by A. Meredith Walters
 Vain (The Seven Deadly, #1) Thief (Love Me With Lies, #3) Making Faces 
Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance (Knitting in the City, #1) Find You in the Dark (Find You in the Dark, #1)
Honorable Mention:
(because I read it, loved it, but it isn't out until 2014)
Rome by Jay Crownover
Rome (Marked Men, #3)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Release Day: Finding My Forever

Happy Release Day! I'm so excited for this next Beaumont Series installment. I loved this series! If you haven't read any of these books by Heidi McLaughlin yet, you can find the links to my reviews below. I can't wait to read Finding My Forever... now available (12/30)!  
Finding My Forever (The Beaumont Series, #3)
Everywhere I look, my friends are settling down - marriage, children, white picket fences; but not me. Marriage isn't in the cards for me. I’m a ladies man.

A rock star.

I was born and raised in the industry.

I love everything about my life, especially the attention from the women that my status brings me.
Women find me. I don’t chase. I know what they want and they know I’ll deliver.

But after one look, one touch, one night...
Now I’m the one doing the chasing.

I need to find a way to show her that I’m serious, that I can change.
I need to find a way to show her that I can love her fully, and only her.
I need to find a way to show her that she’s my forever.
http://amzn.to/14jacXi  http://amzn.to/1587Wor
http://amzn.to/1a8aSQh Finding My Forever (The Beaumont Series, #3)

Heidi is the author of USA Today, Kobo, Digital Book World, Amazon and Barnes & Noble Bestselling novel, Forever My Girl
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets.
During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she’s writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting court-side during either daughter’s basketball games.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (39) & Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

What I Read:
Jesse's Soul by Amy Gregory
Snow Day (3 holiday novellas, collection)
Wide Open by Shelly Crane
Holiday Kisses (4 holiday novellas, collection)
Reviews I Posted:
Wanted by Amanda Lance (my review)
Conviction by Amanda Lance (my review)
Snow Day (3 holiday novellas, collection) (my review)
Holiday Kisses (4 holiday novellas, collection) (my review)
STSmall_thumb[2][2]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! 
eARCs for Review:
Wide Open (Wide Awake, #2) Awaken (Spiral of Bliss, #3) Playing for Love at Deep Haven (Enchanted Places, Book 1)
With You (Tear Asunder, #0.5) Torn from You (Tear Asunder, #1) Love Songs for the Road
Wide Open by Shelly Crane
Awaken by Nina Lane
Playing for Love at Deep Haven by Katy Regnery
With You by Nashoda Rose
Torn From You by Nashoda Rose
Love Songs for the Road by Farrah Taylor

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Holiday Kisses

Holiday Kisses: This Time Next Year\A Rare Gift\It's Not Christmas Without You\Mistletoe and Margaritas
Holiday Kisses (novella collection) by Jaci Burton, Shannon Stacey, HelenKay Dimon, Alison Kent
October 29, 2013
Carina Press
400 pages
Genre: Adult Romance
(contains: adult sexual situations)
Source: eARC from publisher for Honest review
Book Blurb:
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Love!

A man gives the gift of trust and receives a second chance at love in return. A woman helps to heal the wounded heart of a soldier. A couple finds that true love knows no distance. And a young widow learns that there can be two great loves in a lifetime. Love, romance and passion come together in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Anthology includes:

This Time Next Year by Alison Kent
A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton
It's Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon
Mistletoe and Margaritas by Shannon Stacey
My Review:

This is one of the better Christmas novella collections I have read this year. I enjoyed all of the stories and wished some of them were complete novels, as I really liked the stories and their characters. I look forward to reading more from some of these authors.

This Time Next Year (Alison Kent):
This was a really special story about two people forced together during a snow storm - Dillon, a veteran and a doctor, and Breena, a nurse visiting her grandmother. Each has their own issues they are dealing with, but they find themselves drawn to one another. Though the relationship took a quick turn, the eventual outcome was actually a pleasant surprise. I assumed it would end one way and had mixed feelings on those assumptions. But then the author ended it slightly differently and I loved it that way so much more. This was sexy and sweet, but also touching and heart-warming. Really liked this one, and only wished for more.

A Rare Gift (Jaci Burton):
This was one of those stories that I liked, but because it had to do with a guy and his ex-wife's sister, there was still a bit of discomfort going on. Not that this couple did anything wrong. No cheating or anything. Just a bit awkward. But I still enjoyed the story, how the characters, especially the girl, really helped each other and drew close in this new relationship. But I wouldn't necessarily classify this as a "holiday" story, because outside of a short holiday party, there wasn't anything else holiday about it.

It's Not Christmas Without You (HelenKay Dimon):
I really liked this one. Austin and Carrie are one of those couples that loved each other desperately, but still had a few kinks to work out. These issues were things that had to be dealt with, or they would potentially have dire consequences to this couples future. But I liked how the author addressed these issues through this story, not head-on, but in ways that caused the couple to really take a deeper look at themselves and their relationship. There was humor, there was banter, there was heat, and there were touching moments, blending for a great read. Loved this couple and I'd definitely like to continue this series.

Mistletoe and Margaritas (Shannon Stacey):
I really liked this one, too. I could sympathize with Justin's dilemma. What do you do when you've loved your best friend's wife for as long as he has, but have never acted on it but have felt guilty about it forever? And even though she's been widowed for two years, how do your tamp down on that guilt and try to move forward in a relationship that you both want and risk your friendship? I loved how Shannon Stacey handled Justin and Claire's best friendship first, and budding relationship after that. She handled it realistically and sensitively, and they were really cute together. This was a great, sweet story, and I only wished we could have more of Justin and Claire.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review: Snow Day

Snow Day: Heart of the Storm\Seeing Red\Land's End
Snow Day (Novella collection) by Shannon Stacey, Jennifer Greene, Barbara Dunlop
December 31, 2013
Harlequin publishing
Genre: Adult Romance
(contain: sexual content)
Source: eARC from publisher for Honest review
Book Blurb:
Tucker's Point three-day forecast:  stormy with a chance of romance. Prepare to be...

HEART OF THE STORM by Shannon Stacey

Brody Rollins is back in tiny Tucker's Point, Maine, for the first time in five years, and now he can't escape...from former neighbours, old regrets or maddening glimpses of his ex-fiancée.

SEEING RED by Jennifer Greene

Stranded at her grandfather's seaside cottage, Whitney Carr prepares to face the blizzard alone. But unexpected help soon arrives-in the form of her secret high-school crush.

LAND'S END by Barbara Dunlop

Tessa Ambroise is desperate to ditch the charming, infuriating hotelier circling her late aunt's century home like a vulture. But the snow piling up outside the mansion puts both their plans on hold.

When a child goes missing, this perfect storm of cramped quarters and freezing temperatures brings old flames and new acquaintances closer together...but will they go separate ways once the sky clears?
My Review:

These three novellas, though written by different authors, each take place during the same storm in Tucker's Point and have references to same of the same characters. I thought that was a really nice way to get a taste of each author's writing, but still maintaining a certain continuity to the stories. Overall, the stories were enjoyable, some more than others, and were a nice seasonal read.

Heart of the Storm:
Sweet second chance romance that takes on one man's decisions in the past about his fears of the future and dislike of his hometown. But those fears and struggles, while causing him to start his life over, also caused him to leave behind the love of his life. I really enjoy Shannon Stacey's writing style. While this plot is nothing new, it's Stacey's writing and captivating characters that really made this an enjoyable read. Though I was hurt right alongside Delaney about Brody's ability to throw away their relationship, I was able to see more of the big picture as time went on, and felt really drawn into the tension and possibilities of their relationship. Really enjoyed this one.

Seeing Red:
This was another second chance romance. It was not my favorite of the bunch, probably because ten years have passed and the ultimate reason for the separation was a little lack-luster. Whitney's bravado in the beginning was quickly dissipated. I would have liked a little more fight from her. I did like the characters and the situation of the scenes. They had a certain sweetness and tenderness about them. The writing itself was also good.

Land's End:
Another second chance romance, but I liked that not as much time had passed this time. I also liked that this couple had a unique set of "problems." While the couple themselves are not two individuals I would say I loved, their story made for really interesting reading. I also like a story with an interesting group of characters. This could easily have been a story with a few people, but the author threw a bunch in, and it made for a nice mix in the reading. Tessa I did find very annoying in that she couldn't, or wouldn't, just speak her mind clearly. The resolution was a bit odd, but I still really enjoyed this one.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Double Book Review: Wanted & Conviction

Wanted (Wanted, #1)
Wanted by Amanda Lance
(Wanted #1)
April 25, 2013
Limitless Publishing
346 pages
Genre: New Adult Romance
(contains: violence, but fairly clean)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
Considering she’s a girl who calculates everything, Addie Battes knew the statistical probability of being abducted in her lifetime—too bad she never analyzed the odds of falling in love with her captor.

While stopping at a crowded rest area one summer night, seventeen-year-old Addie accidentally catches a truck hijacking in progress. Desperate to rid the crime of its only witness, one of the thieves kidnaps Addie. Yet surprisingly, when a renegade thief attempts to silence her for good, Addie is saved by the very man who abducted her. Now, forced on board a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, Addie finds herself surrounded by international smugglers who want nothing more than to throw her overboard.

All except the artistic and intriguing Charlie Hays, whose strange protectiveness convinces Addie to trust him, even when common sense tells her otherwise. Yet, despite her doubt, and his unrelenting temper, their relationship develops into something much more. But, Charlie’s scorned colleague has stowed away, and as he seeks revenge against his coworker, Addie and Charlie are forced to put their new love—and lives—at risk.
My Review:

This is a kidnapping story with a twist. As the blurb describes, we have Addie, our 17-year-old kidnapping victim, and Charlie, one of her captors, both placed together through unintentional circumstances. This wasn't an intentional kidnapping, but simply Addie's curiosity got the better of her and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But through this twist of circumstances, and an unconventional attraction, could something right come from all of this?

This was one of those stories that I just didn't want to put down. I love a good character-based story, and though this book is centered around the kidnapping, the true story comes down to Addie and Charlie. These were characters I loved getting to know. Addie was a unique girl, and her outlook, life experience, and age, combined with her humor and general likability, made following her POV really enjoyable. And being in Addie's head gives us such a great perspective on all the questions that I imagine I would be wondering if I were in her predicament. I think the author covered so many bases and legitimate concerns really well through Addie.

Charlie, too, was an unconventional character. But I enjoyed how the author unraveled and revealed the mysteries of Charlie. We have to deal with the conflicting views of him - is he creepy or caring, sensitive or scary, loving or a liar? I really liked Charlie, and though I did not agree with his line of work, I liked how sensitive he was to Addie, and how aware he was of their circumstances and their age difference. And they have a bit of an age difference. But that didn't really bother me. My only concern was her age, being a minor. And that was addressed.

As for their budding relationship, I really enjoyed the author's approach to it. It wasn't sensationalized. It was unconventional, and while the situation was dramatic, their friendship felt genuine. I loved reading about them and couldn't help but flip the pages wanting to read what would happen next. There is a genuine sense of connection between Addie and Charlie that cannot be denied, and watching how it unraveled was really quite lovely and beautiful at times. I was touched by how these two could relate to each other and care for each other when on paper they can be seen as so very different. And despite my issues with Charlie's "job" or Addie's age, I found myself rooting for them.

There are also secondary characters that add such a spice and extra zip to the story. Again, unconventional characters, but whether their interactions are large or small, they make such a difference to the story. I love a story with a strong cast of characters, and this one certainly has it.

And of course there is drama. You can't have a kidnapping and a group of thieves without tension, craziness, and no guarantee of a happy ending. Again, I though the author was able to move the plot along really well, giving us tension here, sweetness there, and unpredictability once again. And because of the circumstances, the reader never quite gets comfortable, and that plays really well into the plot.

Why not 5 Stars? Well, for one the book was a little lengthy at times and some parts could have been condensed. I also found Addie's age distracting and could never completely get over it, as well as Charlie's profession. I was never quite sure where the author would go with it all, and while that made for intriguing reading, my maternal instincts kicked in and wouldn't let me be completely pushed over the edge. But this isn't saying it isn't good. I still really enjoyed the book and the characters.

This is the first of a two-book series. Fortunately, the second book, Conviction, is already out. Which I promptly started reading when I was done with Wanted. If you like an intriguing plot with a twist on a kidnapping, but not a "dark" kidnapping read, and unconventional but engaging characters, then I definitely recommend this one. This book is fairly clean, and could even be in the Young Adult category. But I placed it in the New Adult group because most of the characters are older than the heroine, and the second book steps things up a bit, though still remains fairly clean, which is welcome option in this genre.

Conviction (Wanted, #2)
Conviction by Amanda Lance
(Wanted #2)
October 2, 2013
Limitless Publishing
287 pages
Genre: New Adult Romance
(contains: non-explicit sex, dark thoughts)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
Falling in love with each other was unlikely.
Surviving their adventure was doubtful.
Living without each other: impossible.

To everyone else, it may look like she’s leaving for college, but for Addie Battes, it is the beginning of another adventure. She and her kidnapper Charlie Hays have found a way to be together and eluded authorities. Yet fairytale romances aside; life isn’t easy with schoolwork, roommates, and meddling FBI agents. And balancing acts threaten to fall when violent competitors rise up to put Charlie and the guys out of business.

Addie soon realizes that keeping her relationship with Charlie a secret is the least of her problems, especially with Charlie’s growing suspicions and jealousies. When misunderstandings surface, Addie’s worst fears come to fruition. Desperate and alone, she is faced with a choice: try to find her own happy ending, or fight to make Charlie a part of hers.
My Review:

Conviction picks up quickly after where Wanted left off. First, let me say how wonderful it is that this is a two-part book and not a trilogy. I loved that we get an ending by the time this one is over, though I won't say whether it is a HEA or not. But I love that it ends and it was completely satisfying.

As for the story, the plot and twists this time around are completely different. The author really pulled some great punches in there and made me flip my pages eagerly awaiting what would happen next. There were several surprises that I didn't see coming, and several moments where I wanted to shake the characters. Charlie and Addie's relationship is not easy or uncomplicated. There is just too much at risk to be comfortable. And even though Charlie is much older than Addie, they both have a certain immaturity when it comes to a relationship, and that places them in situations that simple communication could solve, but jealousies and fears prevent. But in spite of all the craziness, I could feel Addie and Charlie's love pouring over the pages. There was such a genuine beauty to their relationship, and I couldn't help but root for them despite my concerns and worries. This made for truly great reading.

I continued to love all the other characters as well. It was such a great mix and everyone really added to the story. Makes me curious if we'll see more of any of them in any spin-off books. Regardless, I loved the role that each character, good and bad, played in this book, and thought the author really coiled their stories well.

My negatives were there were a few plot-holes that left me wondering and scratching my head. But I will say that, though they were noticeable to me, they didn't ruin the books for me. Just a slight distraction.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this series. I was impressed by the multi-dimensional and engaging characters and the suspenseful and intriguing plot. And by the end, I was completely in love with Charlie and Addie. They are a couple that I won't forget. This is also a fairly clean New Adult series, which is welcome in a genre that tends to be more explicit, giving readers of this age more options. I look forward to more books from this author.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (38) & Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

What I Read:
Conviction by Amanda Lance
Take Me by J. Kenner
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Carter's Treasure by Amy Gregory
Brody's Love by Amy Gregory
What I Listened To:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
White Fang by Jack London

Reviews I Posted:
Forged By Fate by Reese Monroe (my review)
Wide Spaces by Shelly Crane (my review)
Take Me by J. Kenner (my review)
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi (my review)
STSmall_thumb[2][2]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! 

ARC for Review:
Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1)
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
For My Kindle:
Take Me (Stark Trilogy, #3.5) Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5) Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)
Take Me by J. Kenner
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Blast & Giveaway: Blood on the Tongue

Title: Blood on the Tongue: A Cooper & Fry Mystery (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry #3)
Author: Stephen Booth
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Witness Impulse, an Imprint of HarperCollins
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

It’s a new year for Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, and that means new mysteries to solve in the icy depths of a bitter winter.
It isn’t the easiest way to commit suicide, but the dead woman seems to have simply curled up in the freezing snow and lay there until her heart stopped. There was no one to observe her death but the foxes and the hares. Yet she is riddled with bruises. Her death is horrifying -- is it also suspicious?
When two more dead bodies are found, Cooper and Fry begin to wonder if these tragedies are connected, and whether they will survive the winter…

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17851737-blood-on-the-tongue
Purchase Links: Amazon US | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

STEPHEN BOOTH is an award winning British crime writer, the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, who have appeared in twelve novels set in England’s beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.

Stephen has been a Gold Dagger finalist, an Anthony Award nominee, twice winner of a Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel, and twice shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year. Ben Cooper was a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author, and in 2003 the Crime Writers’ Association presented Stephen with the Dagger in the Library Award for “the author whose books have given readers the most pleasure”.

The Cooper & Fry series is published all around the world, and has been translated into 15 languages.

Connect with the Author: Twitter | Blog | Goodreads
Blast-Wide Giveaway

Friday, December 20, 2013

Novella Review: Fracture Me

Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5)
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
(Shatter Me #2.5)
December 17, 2013
Harper Collins
68 pages
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.
My Review:

*Contains spoilers from previous books*
I just finished reading Fracture Me, and it is a little difficult to wrap my head around it. Reading from Adam's POV is completely different from Juliette's and Warner's. He's not as poetic. He's real and you can sense the years he's spent as a soldier on him. But you can also sense what has changed in him since being in the compound and discovering more about himself and since his break-up with Juliette. Something has changed in Adam and he doesn't feel the same as he did in Shatter Me. But does that make me like him any less? No. Does it make me think he's the guy for Juliette? Hmm. Because, just like everyone else, he's been through a lot and he is still young and he's got a little brother he's responsible for. He has more personal responsibility that Juliette and Warner do, since he has James. And the way he expresses himself about James really touched me and rang true to me as a parent. Looking at everything in context, I can understand why Tahereh wrote Adam the way she did. I may have been expecting something different from Adam, but as I contemplate what I've read, I can understand it. And I think it will play a big part in Ignite Me.

Plus, we finally get to find out what happened to everyone else when Juliette was dealing with Anderson at the end of Unravel Me. The heart-breaking truth. The ending to this novella was quite eye-opening as it really sets the stage for Ignite Me. Since both sides don't know the complete truth, I'm both excited and nervous to see what measures they will be taking next and how all things will turn out. Does this novella resolve the Team Adam vs. Team Warner debate? Time will tell. But this does establish where Adam's priorities are and gives us a little more insight into where Adam and Juliette really were at in their relationship by the end (especially since we get the first two chapters of Ignite Me at the end of the novella). Though this is the least exciting of the series, I still really enjoyed getting in Adam's head and getting more insight into all the chaos that was happening. I will also say, by the end of this, I liked Kenji and Jamie even more. Kenji was definitely the hero and I'd love a novella for him as well.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5) Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)
Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5) Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

(Adult) Novella Review: Take Me

Take Me (Stark Trilogy, #3.5)
Take Me by J. Kenner
(Stark Trilogy #3.5)
December 3, 2013
Random House
94 pages
Genre: Adult Erotica Romance (18+)
(contains: explicit sex)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes a fast-paced, erotic eBook novella from J. Kenner. Following The Stark Trilogy—the bestselling novels Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me—“Take Me” continues the story of Damien Stark and Nikki Fairchild, and introduces Evan Black, the enigmatic man at the center of J. Kenner’s upcoming novel, Wanted .

I’ve long dreamed of my fairy tale wedding, but it wasn’t until I met Damien Stark—who captured me with his kisses and undid me with his touch—that I began to believe it was my destiny. Though we both carry secrets and scars, our shared passion heals us, binding us together. We have surrendered to each other completely, and our mutual ecstasy is the brightest light in my life.

But darkness still snakes through the cracks in our armor. Ghosts from our past have moved in, bringing fresh pain that cuts deep and threatens to destroy everything we hold dear.

Damien is my anchor to this world, and I am his. But if we are going to keep each other, we have to fight the shadows of our pasts to move forward into our future.

“Take Me” is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.
My Review:
If, like me, you were left at the end of Complete Me wishing there was an epilogue, because the story just didn't seem quite finished... then this is the novella for you. This was a reminder to me of how much I liked Damien and Nikki. They work so well as a couple, and watching them prepare for their wedding was a wonderful treat. Unlike the previous novels, this one does not quite have the same high level of angst and suspense, but that was more than okay with me. There was enough irritation and mini-drama thrown in from Nikki's mom to keep us on our toes, wondering how everything was going to turn out, and if Nikki was going to finally stand up for herself. Of course, Damien and Nikki don't fail us in the sex and heat department. Their passionate chemistry still sizzles off the pages. But what I really enjoyed was their sweet relationship and connection. They are so tender and in love and by the end of the novella I was thrilled for them. I felt like I got the closure I had been missing out on in Complete Me. But would I like to see more of Damien and Nikki? Of course! I'm hoping they will make an appearance in Jamie's novella, Tame Me.

Release Me (Stark Trilogy, #1) Claim Me (Stark Trilogy, #2) Complete Me (Stark Trilogy, #3) 
Take Me (Stark Trilogy, #3.5) Tame Me: A Stark International Novella (1001 Dark Nights)

Release Me:  My Review * Amazon * Goodreads
Claim Me:  My Review * Amazon * Goodreads
Complete Me:  My Review * Amazon * Goodreads
Take Me:  My Review * Amazon * Goodreads
Tame Me:  Amazon * Goodreads

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Novella Review: Wide Spaces

Wide Spaces (Wide Awake, #2)
Wide Spaces by Shelly Crane
(Wide Awake #2)
October 20, 2013
194 pages
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
(contains non-explicit sexual reference/inference)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
A novella for Emma and Mason's first Christmas together after Wide Awake.

Emma knows better than most that life can change from one second to the next. Mason knows that guilt can make you change so much, that you don't even recognize yourself in the mirror. When they found each other, they knew that life had given them a second chance.
But can one night, one second, one misunderstanding change everything?

A life together that saved them will become a life they think is lost forever.

My Review:

Wide Spaces is the continuation of Mason and Emma's relationship after Wide Awake (see my review). Is it weird that I liked this novella even more than the first book? This time around I instantly felt Mason and Emma's connection and loved getting reacquainted with their story. Yes, they are a little gushy, lovey-dovey at times. But if you are familiar with Shelly Crane's writing, you expect this. It was sweet to see their interactions not just with each other, but with other family members, and I think that made the story even more special. Along with the sweetness and tenderness, there is also a bit of suspense and drama thrown in. I actually appreciated the drama and that it made things more real, more intense, and made the characters even more honest and open with each other. Then we get the sweetness at the end of this novella - and I really liked how Crane handled this. It was beautiful, tender, genuine, and I loved it!

Altogether, this is a special treat and a great read for Wide Awake and Shelly Crane fans. I suggest reading these books in order as Wide Spaces would be very spoilery if you haven't read Wide Awake yet. There is also a guest appearance which makes me very excited about Wide Open.

Bonus! At the end we get a special sneak peek at the next Significance book. If you are a fan of that series, you will be thrilled with these preview chapters. So excited!
4-1/2 STARS