Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review ~ Silver Shadows ~ Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)Silver Shadows
Bloodlines #5
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased Hardcover
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him...

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.



Silver Shadows was an intense read. With Sydney suffering at the hands of the Alchemists and Adrian suffering at the hands of Spirit, I spent much of the book on edge. There is so much going on and so many unanswered questions. Why do the Alchemists have to be so bigoted in their beliefs? What's going going on in Adrian's head? Is there a conspiracy between certain factions?

I spent the first half of Silver Shadows on pins and needles wondering how Sydney was going to survive her situation. The Alchemists are rather ruthless in their methods and Sydney broke a cardinal rule. But she is nothing if not resourceful. I shouldn't have been surprised by her logic and cunning. I also spent half the book wanting to punch Adrian in the throat. I've been enchanted by him from the beginning but his behavior was over-the-top selfish and made me steaming mad.

Then, naturally, Adrian redeems himself in a grand way. *sigh* Oh, there's still much intrigue afoot and he and Sydney are far from being out of danger, but at least I was back to wanting to hug him rather than throttle him.

It was exciting to have Marcus back in the mix and I also enjoyed seeing Lissa, Rose, and Dimitri - although it was far too short a time. I have a feeling they'll play a greater role in the final installment as things come to a head and everything is illuminated.

One thing I really enjoyed was how Mead pulled in elements from previous installments - things that seemed innocuous or that made me wonder why they'd been included. These elements were made relevant and useful.

I'm anxious to see how it's all going to play out - to have all my questions answered and to see the final image as the last brush strokes are laid. Mead certainly knows how to create excitement and suspense. It's a good thing I have The Ruby Circle lined up. ;)





Monday, May 25, 2015

Review ~ With Visions of Red ~ Trisha Wolfe

With Visions of RedWith Visions of Red
Broken Bonds #1
Release Date: May 7, 2015
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Erotic Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle from Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
Criminal profiler Sadie Bonds knows blood. Her affair with the gruesome, dark world of killers began long before she started applying her analytical skills to investigate gory crime scenes. She gets inside the killers' heads, breaks them down, relates to them on an arcane level. She prefers it this way--because it's safer to ally herself with the villain than the victim. At least, that's how she's coped ever since she was abducted and tortured as a teen.

She will never be a victim again.

Now, she's honed her skills in order to bring justice to these ritualistic offenders. Working alongside her colleagues, armed with sharp wit and a SIG, Sadie always catches her sadist. Until one ruthless serial killer gets inside Sadie's head, turning the tables. He knows her secrets. Her obsessions. The darkest, most deviant part of her soul.

When she meets Colton Reed, dangerous stakes are raised as he threatens to unravel her control and reveal her darkest fantasies. The sexy-as-sin bondage rigger at an exclusive BDSM club pushes her boundaries, forcing her to acknowledge that side of herself she fears. Plunged into a realm of torture and suffering, pain and pleasure, Sadie balances on the razor-sharp edge of two intersecting worlds threatening to swallow her.

Passion and lust ignite. Dark and light battle. This explosive first installment of the Broken Bonds series sets the exhilarating pace for a cat and mouse game where no one knows who's really pulling the strings.



I knew Trisha Wolfe could do dark and gritty - but she took it to a whole new level in With Visions of Red.

I think I'd compare With Visions of Red to Silence of the Lambs - if Hannibal Lector had been into medieval torture and killing rather than cannibalism and Agent Starling had spent time in captivity and subjected to kink.

Sadie Bonds is a criminal profiler, a profession she has a personal connection with. Her latest case - that of a possible serial killer - is pushing her buttons. And that's how she find herself face-to-face with Colton Reed.

Colton is rather enigmatic. He works in a BDSM club as shibari expert. He has set his sights on Sadie. As he gets her to open up, they forge a tenuous bond. A bond that is tested by Sadie's latest case.

Wolfe deftly set the stage with vivid and graphic descriptions of crime scenes and details of a police procedural. Then she weaves in these compelling characters with dark pasts. The profiler element fascinated me. Getting into a killer's head, having the scenes tied to medieval history...well, it was quite a combination. The personal ties between Sadie and the crimes as well as the mysterious nature of Colton had me gripping my kindle and flipping through the pages. To say I'm eager for the next installment would be an understatement. I'm almost quivering in excitement, and maybe a little apprehension, over what comes next for Sadie, the UNSUB, and Colton.



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #66 ~ RT Style


Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged is a weekly meme, hosted by TalkSupe, where I share with you the books I have bought, borrowed, or bagged (gifted or won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, and any other bookishness I want to share. :)


***

Phew! My week was spent furiously trying to catch up on all the things I got behind on while I was giggling/fangirling/partying at RT! ;) I'm still not caught up, y'all. But I'll get there. 


How was y'all's week?? 


Here's my RT haul!! I'm not going to expend the energy to name every single book. Just know that I brought home ~135 books. I even gave a few to Berls to use as COYER prizes. I still ended up with a few duplicates but that's okay. I've thought of the perfect use for them...Giveaways here! You'll start seeing those next month. ;)



Bagged




Giggling/Fangirling/Partying Pics






Mum-making at Avon's A Texas Homecoming Craft-Along...Cora Carmack is an expert. But Denise, Lexxie, and Berls had a good time creating. Denise took home the prize!




Long live the Alamo! Our team did quite well playing Saddle Up & Draw: Pictionary...Texas Style!



Lexxie and I had dinner with JA Huss!!



I got to meet Shelly Bell...and she knew who I was!! :)
Lexxie and I hung out in the bar (a lot!) and we got to meet CC Wood!



Sylvia Day is such a neat person!
Denise and I got to meet Tara Lain - one of Lexxie's favorite authors. I'm looking forward to reading my new book from her. :)


Michelle Mankin with her surf board. 
I got to meet Amber L. Johnson - and she knew me! *squee*
And I was so excited to see Rachel Vincent, too!




Lunch at The Meddling Moth with Michelle Mankin, Lisa, Denise, and a fabulous group of girls from Colorado!



Lexxie and I all decked out in our finest to party!



Berls, Denise, Lexxie, and I waiting for the Giant Book Fair to open...open...open!


Things I Learned About or From My Blogging Friends


Lexxie has a song for...everything!!

Berls has something wonky in her body that fritzes out electronics!


Oh gosh y'all, we had such an amazing time!! It was beyond words exciting to get to meet Lexxie and Berls in person, as well as Felicia the Geeky Blogger and Melanie Simmons, who adds books to be tbr over at Rabid Reads. We all laughed and fangirled and drank, and laughed some more. I really hope to get together with all these lovely ladies again SOON!



Last Two Weeks' Reviews

Upcoming Reviews
With Visions of Red by Trisha Wolfe
Paradise City by CJ Duggan
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Saturday, May 23, 2015

#ShelfLove ~ Why I Deserve *This* Book


This month, the discussion topic is a doozy for me. Y'all know I've in no way stopped acquiring books. Between freebies and using a small amount of my monthly book budget, I've added just a few books to my digital shelves. And now, I have to convince y'all that I deserve the books I've recently acquired?!? Well, here goes nothing... bwahahahaha


As y'all know, I was at RT last week. I brought home over 130 books! And y'all know I deserved each and every one of them! ;) Why, you ask? Well, I just couldn't pass up free books by authors that I adore...like Colleen Hoover, Rachel Vincent, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Brenda Novak, to name a few. And then there were books by authors I've always wanted to read, such as Jennifer Probst, Kahlen Aymes, and Rachel Hawthorne...I couldn't miss out on getting those! And then there are those authors I discovered while at RT, like Molly O'Keefe, Kris Calvert, and BJ Daniels. I couldn't hurt their feelings by passing up their books, right? I mean, I might have found a new favorite author and I wouldn't know it if I didn't pick up their book. So really, I deserved this book...and that book...oh, and this book, too. ;)




Seriously though, nothing...and I do mean nothing, makes me want to get serious about that no book buying ban than looking at all these books against the backdrop of my overstuffed bookshelves. My issue now...which should I read first?!?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Reasons You'll Love Rook & Ronin ~ TGIF! Spotlight & #Giveaway



If y'all have followed me for any length of time, you know I adore JA Huss. And if you haven't followed me for that long, well I'm about to give you some reasons to start reading her! ;) Not the least of which is that I'm giving away a signed copy of Tragic

A little backstory...back in late 2012, I started conversing with JA via her blog, New Adult Addiction. We liked several of the same books and she was fun to talk to. So when she told me she was having a blog tour of her own and asked if I'd participate, I said "Sure!" Now, the books I'd be reading were not what I typically read, so I was a little out of my comfort zone. However, I ended up hosting an entire week of fangirling over JA Huss and Junco! 

Fast forward a few months (in 2013), and she was releasing the first book in her Rook & Ronin series, Tragic. Well, I loved it, too! I thought I would share a few reasons why YOU should read this series, as well. So here goes...


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  • A Strong Heroine (you'll always get one with JA)
"I was broken, beaten, and scared of pretty much everything. And then it hit me. If I wanted to change my life then I'd have to do it myself. Because no one was coming to protect me, or save me, or heal me. There was just me." -Rook, Tragic 



"...a door, still closed and leading to every opportunity imaginable and requiring a leap of faith that the risk is worth it. You are my doorway to endless possibilities and I'm ready to take that risk." -Rook, Panic

  • A Hot Hero (or Three!)
"Rook, no one gives a shit what I wear. They want me naked and if I'm not naked, then I'm just there to make you look good until we do get naked." -Ronin, Tragic



"Ronin challenges Rook to want a future - one with him. He challenges her to believe in herself, to believe in love and to believe she deserves it. Ford challenges Rook to stretch herself, to push past her boundaries, to reach and fulfill her potential. And Spencer, he provides Rook with the comfort and security of a big brother." -From my review of Panic

  • Lots of Swoon
"I could describe what you look like, but that's not what I see. You are so much more than a body inside a dress Rook. You fit me." -Ronin, Tragic


"Miss Corvus, I am so far beyond in love with you, I can barely function. I want to marry you. Like yesterday. But I know that's not gonna happen just yet, so I just want you to know, I can wait. I will wait." -Ronin, Panic 

"Well it's not really a mystery. It was the day I met you, that's when. You've changed me, Rook. You make me weak, you make me stumble, you make me fall, and even though I know you'll pick me up if I ask you to, it's not enough. I want you to make me stronger, just like I made you. I want it all or I want nothing. And since I can't have it all, I'll take nothing." -Ford, Panic

"But I'm desperate for more from her. I'm desperate for something more permanent. And I do understand that it's totally selfish of me to expect her to give up her dream to make me happy, so that's something I'd never ask her to do. But it eats away at me. Her lack of permanence. It's like she's fleeting, like she's a moment. Something that comes and goes. I want marriage, I want kids, I want everything I never had as a child, and I want it desperately. But I want her more. I will wait, that was not a lie. I'll wait forever if I have to." -Ronin, Panic 

  • A Sprinkle of Humor
"So, tell me, Ford--is that a family name? Or did your parents just like trucks?" -Rook, Manic

"How did I get here? We're Three's Company. Spencer is airhead Chrissy, Ford is intellectual Janet, and I'm pretending to be gay so I don't notice that you two are roommate eye-candy." -Rook, Panic

  • Loads of Steamy
I am desperate to get him inside me, but he's slow now. "I might not be able to make many guarantees in this world, Rook," he says as his hand travels down and traces the crease between my legs. "But I will say with one hundred percent certainty that you will come tonight." Rook & Ronin, Panic


  • A Little Mystery



"And it might be sitting in non-traceable off-shore bank accounts. Because we might've stolen all his money while we were at it. Serves him right since the only reason he got caught is because he tried to steal yours. Paybacks are always a bitch." 

  • Twists & Turns That Screw with Your Mind
"In Manic, Ms. Huss works some magic...keeping her readers even more involved and interested in Rook and Ronin's story through the reveal of some major revelations. We knew Rook's past was not a pretty one, but we learn even more about the extent to which she suffered. And then there's the shock of the sordid (look Ford, I'm smart, too!) past between Ronin, Spencer, and Ford. And then there was the panic attack inducing, pulse pounding bombshell part of the book. Yeah, I can't tell y'all about that. ;)"  - From my review of Manic


  • Writing That Makes You Think
"I like the contradictions of the story - the juxtaposition of the ugliness of Rook's life with the glamour of modeling. The glamour of modeling against the ugliness behind the scenes. That Rook has come to believe that no one will save her but herself yet the kindness shown to her by Ronin and Elise (and Antoine to an extent) essentially do just that. Rook and Ronin and somewhat contradictory as well - she with nothing, he with everything, but both missing something." -From my review of Tragic


"I enjoyed the culmination of Rook's journey towards forgiveness, love, wholeness. Because even though they're an 'us', this story is more Rook's story than Ronin's. Ronin is the catalyst for Rook's growth and therefore an integral part of Rook's story, but it's Rook's. And as the events of Rook's past are revealed, I admired her all the more." -From my review of Panic


So are you convinced yet? I certainly hope you are! And to tempt you even further, you can enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Tragic! Sorry! This giveaway is U.S. only. If you're International, don't despair! Just let me know in the comments and I'll put y'all into a drawing (using random.org) for Tragic in ebook format. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review ~ Taken by a Dragon ~ Felicity Heaton

Taken by a Dragon (Eternal Mates, #7)Taken by a Dragon
Eternal Mates #7
Release Date:
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
Possessed by a need to save a beautiful Amazon warrior from the vision he witnessed, Loke snatched her from the midst of the battle between the Third and Fifth realm of the demons, and carried her to his home deep in the black mountains of Hell to protect her. But as the fierce little female awakens, he finds she's anything by grateful, and his dragon instincts roar to life to warn she might be more to him than an enemy--she might be his fated female.

Anais remembers meeting a handsome warrior in the heat of battle, a man who was her enemy but who looked at her with eyes that held dark heat and wicked promises. When she wakes to find that same dragon shifter has taken her captive, desire is the last thing on her mind, but escaping him to return to Archangel, the hunter organisation she works for, sounds less than appealing when he reveals the reason he took her--to stop her from dying.

Can Loke protect Anais from the dangers of his realm and how far will he go to save her from the future he keeps witnessing? Can Anais resist the fierce attraction that burns between them as hot as fire and stay true to Archangel, or will her heart be taken by a dragon?




Taken by a Dragon is another satisfying installment in Heaton's Eternal Mates series. And it was one I was very eager to read because DRAGON! ;) Besides the story of how Loke and Anais come together, we also see a return of some of my other favorite characters and that served to enhance my delight in the story.

Loke and Anais meet on a battlefield during the war between the Third Realm and the Fifth Realm. Loke takes Anais for reasons other than the fact they are fighting on opposite sides. Once Anais understands his reasons, the stage is set for the arguing and the loving to begin. Like is a chivalrous gentleman, in all honesty. Oh, he feels the extreme protectiveness and possessiveness all the males feel towards their mate - and he will fight to defend Anais. But h'es very considerate of her as well. Anais, who Loke refers to as his "Little Amazon", is a warrior. She's confident and strong and I liked that about her. And I really like them together.

I say this in every one of my Heaton reviews, so I'll only briefly mention it here - Heaton's ability to convey the environment of whichever realm serves as the backdrop to the story is excellent. Taken by a Dragon was no different. I could feel the coolness and hardness of the mountain cave Loke called home as well as taste the dust in the arena of his village. I appreciate and admire this ability.

There was a plot thread left hanging and I can only predict that it's a part of the overarching plot and will be resolved in the future. Hopefully with an appearance of Bleu. *hint hint* Taken by a Dragon felt a little short on the action. There was some but it wasn't as exciting as some previous installments. However, I enjoyed the cameos made my other characters, such as Loren and am eager to see how Heaton will connect all these threads in the grand scheme.

If you haven't started the Eternal Mates series, I highly recommend you hop to it!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Beyond the Books ~ On Lasik


Welcome to Beyond the Books. This post was inspired by Lexxie @Unconventional BookviewsUp Close and (Un)conventional, who was inspired by Cuddlebuggery. It's meant to be a way for y'all to get to know me better on a personal level - Beyond the Books. ;)



*************

As y'all may or may not know, I recently had Lasik surgery...about 3.5 weeks ago now. And overall, I'm loving it! I thought I'd share a few things about my experience just in case you were curious. ;)


The science...the surgeon uses one laser to create a flap in your cornea and another to remove tissue, which reshapes your eyes - essentially creating your "prescription" on your eye. My prescription in my glasses was close to 20/600 in each eye.

First of all, I had myself really worked up over having Lasik done. I mean, they are my eyes after all. What I found was that I needn't have been so worked up. Yes, it's still a risky venture. But the risks are low. And a good doctor isn't going to perform the procedure on you if you aren't a good candidate. (I have thicker than average corneas and small pupils which, apparently, equaled *perfect* candidate!)

Second of all...y'all it's over in less than 2 minutes! Seriously! Here's the quick and dirty...They cover whichever eye they aren't working on, and the first laser gets to work creating the flap. When this is happening, you experience what it's like to be blind. You lose sight in the eye while the laser is working but it only lasts for 20 seconds. I kept hearing my boot camp instructor telling me I can do anything for 20 seconds. *ha* And then the second laser gets to work removing tissue. For me, this took 14 and 12 seconds per eye. Afterwards, I sat up and walked over to the 'eye machine' (like at the eye doctor) where the surgeon checked my vision. All was good! I could see but it was like looking through my glasses with oil smeared on them.

My husband watched the whole thing and was captivated by the technology (some of which was created by NASA!). 

They gave me a sedative prior to my procedure but not far enough in advance for it to really be working during my procedure - you have to be able to hold your eyes open after all. Anyway, I barely remember the hour drive home. I went straight to bed, with a lovely pair of goggles. I slept the rest of the day, only getting up for dinner. And when I awoke on Saturday morning, I could see. I went to the eye doctor that morning for a post-op check up and my vision was 20/15 in each eye.

I had to put antibiotic drops in my eyes 3 times a day for 4 days and sleep with the goggles on for close to 2 weeks. I also have to put 'tears' in my eyes several times a day, even now. But the need for this is tapering off. My last visit, my vision was still 20/15. 

The only drawback for me is this...I already wore progressives so I *knew* I'd need reading glasses. However, I wasn't expecting the reality that I really couldn't see up close anymore. With my glasses, I could take them off and holding an object, say my phone, really close, I could read it. I can't anymore. And I wasn't fully prepared for that. But the benefits of being free of glasses for anything not up close outweigh my need for reading glasses. (although I do have to laugh that my family teasing me about *still* wearing glasses 90% of the time after Lasik wasn't off the mark! I do read often. ;) 

So, after wearing glasses for 30+ years, I'm relatively free of them, can wear lots of cute, colored reading glasses, and I'm happy with my results! I only wish I'd done it sooner!! ;)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review ~ Mend ~ Autumn Grey

Mend (Havoc, #3)Mend
Havoc #3
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
Sometimes you win and sometimes you lost, especially in love. Remington has played that game before and lost. One thing is certain...Losing Selene is not an option. As the threat on their lives looms closer, he knows one wrong move and she might disappear from his life forever. The clock is ticking, and Remington is competing against time to save the woman who is fast becoming a part of his soul.

But what happens after that? Will she stay, or will his past destroy any chance with her?

Love is what remains after our reservations melt away; when we let our demons come out to play.

Selene knows it is just a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. Whoever is after them is after blood. Her blood. She should have cut ties with Remington the second she read that first letter, but that is no longer a choice. She has fallen too far, too heard, and she is in too deep, both emotionally and physically.

At times secrets unite, and sometimes they destroy lives. Will the secret that binds them be enough to break Selene and Remington, or will it mend shattered bonds and make them stronger?




Mend was a satisfying ending to Selene and Remington's story. It kept me guessing about the identity of the source of trouble for this couple and I can certainly say I didn't see that coming. I quite enjoyed seeing Selene and Remington grow closer and work to overcome the struggles they were facing early in the fledgling relationship. The chemistry between them is very strong but it's nice to see them with Adrien and other family members - to get a feeling for how they interact as a couple outside of the bedroom as well. And their bond is a strong one.

The only things keeping this from a higher rating is that I felt a few elements related to the reveal were a little too far-fetched and the resolutions between family members seemed a little too easy.

Despite my issues with these things, Mend left me feeling very happy and satisfied with where Selene and Remington ended up. Fate seemed to have brought these two together and hey were good for one another. They each had had their hearts broken but together, they were able to mend, and come out stronger in the end.