Monday, May 2, 2016

Contemporary Romance Review ~ Slow Ride ~ Cathryn Fox

Slow Ride (Playing for Keeps, #1)Slow Ride by Cathryn Fox
Playing for Keeps #1
Release Date: September 28, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on nook
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #OctobeRecFest 2015
Goodreads

Synopsis
He's looking for love. She's looking for trouble...

As a successful doctor and weekend cowboy, Chase Cooper enjoys a full life with plenty of female company. But lately, something hasn't felt right. He's been distracted. Antsy. Damn it, he's been lonely. With an eye on settling down with a nice girl, Coop invites his high school best friend down to his ranch to see if maybe she's the one for him...

Instead, her twin sister shows up. The one who loathes him.

Julia Blair is already halfway to Coop's ranch when she learns the invitation wasn't for her, but her vivacious twin sister. She has two choices: slink back home, or see just how far this farce will go. One glance at hotter-than-sin Coop, and she knows she's playing a dangerously hot game. Because what this cowboy wants, this cowboy gets...



I one-clicked this first installment of the series after reading Anna's review (@Herding Cats & Burning Soup) of #3 in the series. I liked the idea behind the series - 3 guys hatching a plan to try to catch the one that got away. Slow Ride was a fast, hot, and fun read.

Coop had a girl as one of his best friends in high school. Oh, everyone believed they were more than friends, or at least friends with benefits, but Coop actually had the hots for his best friend's twin sister. There were two problems with that. 1) being the best friend's twin, Julia was off limits. And 2) Julia claimed Coop wasn't her type. That couldn't have been further from the truth. Julia had the hots for Coop but knew she couldn't compete with her sister for his affections.

The two meet under dubious circumstances - the guys' plan - and Coop and Julia get reacquainted during a week working on a dude ranch. I enjoyed the rekindling of feelings, the closeness they develop, and their smexy times. My only complaint was that since this is a novella, they story felt rushed. And I would have liked a little more openness between them sooner.

Overall though, it was a quick, sexy read. And I'm eager for the other guys' turns with their ladies. ;)



Sunday, May 1, 2016

My TBR List Review ~ Frost Burned ~ Patricia Briggs

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


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I'm sorry my review is late, y'all. April was a busy month and it slowed down my reading. Actually, I ended up listening to Frost Burned because I wasn't going to have time to get it read. So note that my review is of the audio version. I finished it this morning around 1:00 a.m. as I waited for my girls to get home from prom. Mercy had no problem keeping me awake!


Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson #7
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Release Date: March 5, 2013 by Penguin Audio
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased Hardcover (B&N) and Audio (Audible)
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman - the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack - has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more. After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam - or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted. Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. Outclasses and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.



It's been too long since I read Mercy. There were a few things I'd forgotten - Samuel's mate? For the most part though, it felt comfortable and familiar, and I slipped right back into Mercy's world. And I was reminded why I've enjoyed spending time here.

  • Mercy - she and her coyote are strong no matter what they're having to face. Mercy is brave and smart and cunning. She's always able to figure things out - find her way out of a situation. She's also loyal - to her pack, to her friends, to humanity - and noble - she's always going to do the right thing.
  • Action/Mystery - Briggs did a fabulous job with pacing. The action is always nail-biting and perfectly timed. It didn't matter if it was a fight scene or a scene where Mercy's doing something to care for Adam and the pack, I was holding my breath in anxious anticipation of the outcome. I also liked that in Frost Burned once I thought the mystery had been solved, Briggs threw a curve ball to let me know things hadn't been resolved at all.
  • Characters - I adore that in spite of this being Mercy's story, we always spend time with the many colorful characters that inhabit her world. Getting to spend time with Zee and Tad, Gabriel and the Sandoval family, Stephan, Warren and Kyle...well, you get the picture. They're a part of Mercy's life and integral to her story. I also appreciated Asil's appearance in Frost Burned. And I was so happy to have already made his acquaintance in the Alpha & Omega series.
I think the only thing I didn't like about Frost Burned was Adam's absence. Well, he wasn't absent but his presence was reduced, what with his kidnapping and dealing with the fallout from that. But I'd been warned, so I knew that was coming and it made it less painful. ;)

This was my first listen with Lorelei King. It took me a few chapters to warm up to her but then she showed me her range and her ability to keep all the voices distinct so that by the end, she was Mercy. I wouldn't hesitate to listen further into this series or listen to anything else from her.

I'm going to be caught up with Mercy and Adam by the end of 2016!



Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Update ~ April

BookishResolution Challenge 2016

Laura @Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @Because Reading are once again hosting the Bookish Resolutions Challenge in 2016. I participated in this challenge last year and it was a good way to keep me motivated in certain areas, so I decided to do it again this year.

My Goals for 2016
  • Blogging Goals
    • Keep up with commenting back weekly
    • Link up my challenge posts bi-weekly
    • Learn some HTML to change up format of posts
  • Reading Goals
    • Raise my Netgalley rating to 50%
    • Read books my kids *need* me to read
      • Alice in Wonderland
      • Death with Interruptions 
      • Everything is Illuminated
      • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
      • Listening for Lucca
      • School of Good and Evil
      • The Things They Carried
      • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
      • Wonderstruck
  • Personal Goals
    • Stick to my daily schedule


Progress made in March

Blogging Goals
  • I've continued to do a fairly good job at keeping up with commenting back this month. :) I apologize for not being the greatest at commenting. It's been a very busy month personally with preparing for end of year events in music and my daughter's graduation. 
  • I've linked my New Release Challenge reviews. I didn't have any other reviews to link for my challenges. Yep, it's been that sort of reading month.
  • I've thought about Code Academy. Does that count?!?
Reading Goals
  • I didn't post any reviews to Netgalley this month. BUT I'm participating in the Clean Sweep ARC Challenge in May so I should get at least a few posted. :)
  • I didn't get any books read off my Kids' Recs List in April, but I hope to get at least one read in May.
Personal Goals
  • I'm still struggling with with a schedule and finding balance. I continued working at my exercising goal. But as always, there's still room for improvement there. I'm *still* dealing with snow y'all...can you believe it? Keep your fingers crossed that my daughter's graduation day is dry. Seriously! Eventually the snow will melt (and the mud will dry) and I'll get back to exercising outdoors. :) As far as writing, I've put a lot of thought into it, and got some feedback from some friends, and made more changes to my schedule so I can fit more writing time in. Y'all may notice some of the changes but I'll be talking about them more soon. Getting my book completed is an important goal for me so bear with me as I work at finding a way to make writing a priority and balancing that with my family and blogging. <3

Clean Sweep & Mini Blog-Ahead Challenge Sign-up Post

Clean Sweep ARC ChallenheI've decided to participate in the Clean Sweep ARC Challenge hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer because...well, y'all know my Netgalley rating is in the tank, right?!? I'm not creating a list of books to read this time around - I learned my lesson and besides, I have so, so many books to choose from! LOL Honestly though, with being gone to BEA and with my daughter's graduation all in the same month, I'll consider it a win if I can get 5 books knocked off my Netgalley TBR. (yep, I have a journal with Netgalley titles I've yet to read!) I'll get that rating up this year though. I WILL!

If y'all are in need of a challenge to knock out some ARC reading too, click the button above for all the challenge details.

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I've also decided to participate in the Mini Blog-Ahead Challenge hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup. It's only 15 days in length (May 1-15) but I really need to get posts completed and scheduled to get me through not only the month of May but June as well. I'm going to be gone twice during the month of June and it'll be a relief to know that I have things taken care of here. :D

If y'all are interested in joining this challenge to get yourself ahead around your blog, click the button for all the details!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Blog Tour Review & #Giveaway ~ Debauched ~ Jennifer Dawson



I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Jennifer Dawson's Debauched. I'm a big fan of this series. Below you'll find the details for the book, my review, and a giveaway. Enjoy!


Debauched by Jennifer Dawson
Undone #3
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received an ARC as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Synopsis
One night in a moment of sheer madness I confessed my secrets to him. All my life I’ve been pretending. Pretending to be the woman I thought I should be instead of the woman I really am. I’ve been faking it and I am good. No one has ever guessed. Except him. He just looked at me and knew.  

Chad Fellows is not the man I want, but he’s fast becoming the man I need.  

One night in a moment of sheer madness I held her in my arms and let her cry. I did the right thing, letting her walk away, no matter how much she calls to the part of me that wants to rescue her. We are nothing alike, and she’s a mess of complications in a life I’m trying to keep simple. But then I touched her and made her tremble and now I can’t turn away.   

Ruby Stiles is not the woman I want, but she’s fast becoming the woman I need.






If you've been following me for the last six months or so, you know I'm a fan of this series. JDawson sucked me into these characters' lives and into the scene with aplomb. And while I know D/s stories aren't for everyone, I'm going to try to explain why Debauched is my favorite in the series so far and why this series is worth a look. 

I have no experience with this lifestyle outside of books but what I think JDawson does so well, and I mentioned this in my review of Unraveled, is explain the psychology behind the relationship dynamics and all the elements required for it to be successful. This was even more acute in Debauched as Ruby was vehemently against the D/s relationship. The ways in which JDawson had Chad and Ruby explore her perceptions and feelings was brilliant and enlightening. It also demonstrated the depth of feeling, honesty, commitment and trust a D/s relationship requires.

It'd always liked Ruby but getting a deeper glimpse of her in Unraveled had me eager to get to know her better. Because on many levels I identify with Ruby so the thoughts she had, the way she was stifling herself professionally and personally by trying to be what she thought others wanted/expected her to be without realizing it, was something I can relate to. She had certain ideas about what she thought her life should look like but those ideas/beliefs were coloring her perception of things - things that could unlock, for lack of a better word, all her potential. Meeting Chad, realizing he was a Dominant, knowing he was stable, staid...those things all flew in the face of what she envisioned for herself. And yet she couldn't deny the magnetic pull between them.

Chad, for his part, couldn't stay away from Ruby. She truly was a complication he didn't feel he needed in his life but there was something about her that spoke to him. Watching as he slowing, patiently broke through all the barriers Ruby placed between them was awing. It showed so much about his character that he took the time to help Ruby understand and accept something so elemental in her makeup. I fell for him just as hard as Ruby did. Maybe it's because he's not as alpha as Michael or Leo (the other men of this series)...I'm not sure. Maybe it's just because Chad is more my idea of the perfect guy. Whatever it is, I connected with him on a deeper level.

I wanted to say something about the smexy scenes as well. Debauched doesn't have any bondage or voyeurism scenes. Not one of the scenes is gratuitous. They each show Ruby working through something with Chad's help. And this is one of the hottest books I've read!

If you don't like stories with a D/s foundation, there's probably not much I can say that will convince you to give the Undone series a try. But I hope you do. Debauched made me thing without my realizing it was making me think. It resonated deep with me because I'm completely invested in these characters. And it's a story that's going to stay with me for quite some time.





Previous Books in the Undone Series


Crave Undone #1
Buy Links: Amazon|Barnes&Noble|Kobo|iTunes

Sinful Undone #2
Buy Links: Amazon|Barnes&Noble|Kobo|iTunes

Unraveled Undone #2.5
Buy Links: Amazon|Barnes&Noble|Kobo|iTunes









Jennifer Dawson is the author of the popular Something New series; spicy, small town romance released with Kensington, and pens the dark and edgy contemporary romance series Undone.   Jennifer grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology. She met her husband at the public library while they were studying. To this day, she still maintains she was NOT checking him out. Now, over twenty years later, they are married and living in a suburb right outside of Chicago with two awesome kids and a crazy dog. These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer, writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever-watchful eye on her ever-growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband. Jennifer loves connecting with her readers and invites you to check out her website, Facebook page, and join Dawson’s Darlings, her private Facebook Fan group. Sign up for her monthly Newsletter for exclusive insider peeks, new release information and more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Mr. Perfect ~ JA Huss

Mr. Perfect (Mister, #1)Mr. Perfect by JA Huss
Mister #1
Release Date: April 27, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis
Wanting the perfect man doesn't make me crazy. I just know what I like.

A powerful billionaire in a suit wasn't even my first choice. McAllister Stonewall was never on my radar, I didn't even know he existed.

But I do now.

His hands are all over me at work. The heat of his chest pressing against my bare back as he bends me over the desk is the only thing on my mind.

He is my most forbidden desires unleashed. He is my new secret obsession. He is my Mr. Perfect.

Until the moment I realize... There's no such thing as perfect.



Mr. Perfect is not typical Huss - a sexy story served up with a nice side of mind-twisting suspense. No, Mr. Perfect is more straight-up sexy and fun. And for the most part, I quite enjoyed it.

Ellie can admit she is wasting her talent as the celebrity concierge for Stonewall Entertainment, but the day she has the worst day of her career, she decides maybe she's had enough. Not only did she almost kill her rock star client, she had an interesting run-in with her new boss who happens to be H.O.T. But is also clearly an ass. Ellie, though...she has dreams. She just needs the confidence to reach for them.

McAllister didn't mean for his first meeting with Ellie to go so wrong. He's actually kinda smitten with this adorable girl - whose texts of her dream life he inadvertently received. Ellie sparks his interest - in more ways than one. She makes him think and re-evaluate. She also fogs his brain with lust. If only he can get her to see his side of things...

Thus begins this crazy office romance. And like I said, it was fun. I had several giggle moments. I had several gasping moments. I even had some fan myself moments. The interactions and banter between Ellie and Mac were at times light and at times cringe-worthy. I could see things progressing between them. But I felt there was that little something missing. And it really hit me once that something was delivered. That something was what made the story meaty. There were revelations that made both Mac and Ellie more complex - even more interesting. There were discoveries made - realizations - that showed their entire character as well as how their relationship affected who they are and where they were going - both individually and as a couple. There were questions raised about taking risks, the value of dreams, and blazing your own path. And while I enjoyed their story up to that point because it was sexy and a good time, I couldn't help but wish these events had happened a little sooner since they gave Mac and Ellie so much more depth.

I can't deny that I had a good time with Mr. Perfect. This couple was entertaining and their chemistry was combustible. There were interesting secondary characters introduced and I enjoyed them. Huss, as usual, was stellar at painting the backdrop of a unique office building in the Denver Tech Center juxtaposed with rolling pine covered hills dotted with cows. The only thing that was missing was that little bit extra early on - that meat. With that, Mr. Perfect would have been fabulous rather than just great. However, as this is the first in a new series where there are 5 guys, the Misters, with a connected past, I'm expecting things will just get better from here.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Release Review ~ Possessed by a Dark Warrior ~ Felicity Heaton

Possessed by a Dark Warrior (Eternal Mates, #9)Possessed by a Dark Warrior by Felicity Heaton
Eternal Mates #9
Release Date: April 9, 2016
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis
A powerful warrior and commancer of the dark elf legions, Bleu is a loyal and devoted male, and one who has never failed in anything--except one thing. Love. When an elusive female dragon shifter surfaces in Hell again, giving him a mission to hurl himself into, he gladly returns to his hunt for her and the deadly blade she stole from his prince seven centuries ago, but as he closes in on his prey, fate reveals she is far more than his enemy.

Having escaped from the black market arena and her life as a slave, Taryn sets her sights back on the task she began seven hundred years ago when her brother stole a precious sword, but in the three centuries she's been captive, everything has changed. Corrupted by a craving for power, her brother has become dangerously obsessed with finding the blade and using it to claim the ultimate treasure--the position of King of Hell.

Faced with having to end her beloved twin brother to stop him from bringing all of Hell to its knees before him, will Taryn be strong enough to use the very blade he seeks against him? And when Bleu finally catches his elusive prey, will he listen to his head as it demands he complete his mission or his heart as it demands he claim his eternal mate?



Finally, finally we got Bleu's story. It's been a long time coming and it's a story I was eagerly anticipating. One I must say was worth the wait.

Possessed by a Dark Warrior is the 9th in the series, and I've reviewed the previous 8, I'm finding it difficult to create new ways to express my appreciation of elements I feel Heaton excels in. She never disappoints me in:
  • characterization
  • setting
  • choreography of action scenes
I was thrilled to get to spend time with some of my favorite characters from previous installments - even if only briefly. I liked how Vail's plot line was further developed as well as the advancement of what I see as the over-arching plot line. The camaraderie between Bleu, Loren, and Vail (yes, Vail) further developed the characters of these males. They are strong warriors but are first and foremost loyal friends. The romance, while maybe not quite as exciting as I was hoping for, was satisfying nonetheless. And the battle was pretty epic. The pacing of Bleu's story was a bit smoother - it kept me eagerly flipping through the pages.

As anxious as I'd been for Bleu's story, I had no idea what direction Heaton would go. It was the ultimate irony that the thing Bleu most long for - love and his mate - had been in his life for a long while. The circumstances of his acquaintance with Taryn were unfortunate. Had those circumstances not arisen, they'd both been spared much pain. However, they might not have crossed paths either, so...


I admired Taryn's strength - both physical and mental. She'd survived so much and knew she still had a major undertaking ahead of her. That she took it upon herself to save all of Hell was admirable - especially since it meant facing off with her twin.


The romance between Bleu and Taryn, despite the fact they were mates - felt almost slow-burning as they both had thick walls surrounding their hearts. And maybe it's cliche - each of them afraid to love and lose - but it felt genuine in their case. I do think they would have a bit more to overcome with regards to the apparent PTSD Taryn suffers but I liked where they ended up and appreciated being along on the journey.



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Post #12

Sunday Post

As y'all probably all know, the Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share my news from the week whether it be book, blog, or just life news. Since I read so many of your Sunday Posts and I wanted to add something new in 2016, I've decided to join in the fun!

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As y'all know, hubs and I took Sky to Portland for Admit Day at Reed College. We had a bumpy start as a huge snowstorm moved into Colorado and affected air travel. Our original flight was canceled and we had to re-book a flight for 11 hours later in the day. This was funny because although we had 3 feet of snow at our house, the airport only had about 5 inches. This was not funny because it meant we lost an entire day in Portland. We also had some rental car issues and hotel issues but it all worked out and with the exception of Sky coming down with a cold, our time in Portland and the event we attended at Reed were excellent! If y'all can believe it, it was sunny and in the 80's there!!

I've continued to work at my Spring Cleaning list and am getting things accomplished. That's left me feeling pretty good. I'm working on a couple of projects that I've been doing for the music department for the past several years that have to be done in the next few weeks, working on projects for Sky's graduation, and working at getting ready for BEA!

Reading-wise, I'm still listening to Like Gravity by Julie Johnson. I finished The Gamble by Kristen Ashley (I incorrectly stated I was re-reading Rock Chick Reckoning by Kristen Ashley - got ahead of myself! *haha*). I've started Possessed by a Dark Warrior by Felicity Heaton, and will also be starting Debauched by Jennifer Dawson. I had to return Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake before I finished it, so I'll have to request it again from the library. :D It's really good, y'all, I just didn't have time for reading last week!

How was y'all's week?!? I hope this upcoming one fantastic! :D

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Bookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2016HWLogoButton

Challenge Updates
I made very little progress in a few of my challenges this week. 

#ShelfLove - 32
Blogger Shame - 5
New Release - 12
Goodreads - 51
#2016HW - 6

How are y'all doing with your challenges?