Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review ~ Never Love a Highlander ~ Maya Banks

Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks
McCabe Trilogy #3
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Release Date: July 23, 2012
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: Audible Credit
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove

In a tale of strong ties and true love, Maya's trilogy comes to its stunning conclusion, as the youngest McCabe brother uses sword and seduction to save his clan--and seal his heart.

Caelen McCabe's young, reckless heart nearly destroyed his clan. Now putting family loyalty above all else, he steps up to marry his older brother's jilted bride and salvage the uneasy alliance between two clans. While beautiful Rionna McDonald is a fit wife for any man, Caelen trusts no woman, especially not this sweet temptress who torments him with white hot longing.

As the sacrificial lamb in her father's power game, Rionna will do her duty but protect her heart and her pride from another man's humiliation. Despite everything, the heat in Caelen's touch melts her defenses and she craves the sensual delights of a husband who guards his emotions as fiercely as his clan. But when the ultimate battle for the McCabe legacy is upon them, Rionna's true warrior spirit emerges. She will risk the wrath of her father, the fury of her enemies, and her life to prove to Caelen that his wife's love is too precious to lose.

Despite the fact I felt the final battle was a tad anti-climatic, I was well pleased with this final installment in the McCabe trilogy.

One thing I adore about Banks' Highlander heroines is their strength. Rionna McDonald is the strongest, most courageous of them all. I admire her for her determination to live life as she dictates - not cow to her clan's or Caelen's ideas of what makes a proper laird's wife. I'd been so anxious for Rionna's story. And honestly, Caelen was the best match for her.

It was a pleasure to listen as Caelen tried to shape Rionna into what he thought she should be and see them both learn that being true to themselves was the best foundation on which to build their relationship. I also enjoy the clan dynamics and it was interesting to witness how the McDonalds took having a McCabe at the helm. To say they were resistant is an understatement. I liked how Caelen went about making Rionna's clan his own. It was important not only because he wanted to blend the clans and make them stronger, but also because the needed a united front against Duncan Cameron.

I missed seeing Ewan and Mairin, and Alaric and Keeley but I understood the necessity. I was happy that Gannon accompanied Caelen to McDonald lands because it was nice for Caelen, and me, to have a familiar face in his new home.

Even though I thought the final battle was a bit too easy, I understood this was a romance, not historical fiction. I also didn't quite understand the explanation for Duncan Cameron's quest for vengeance against the McCabes. However, I adored Rionna for her cunning in the face of danger. She put Caelen first and showed her bravery using her wits and skills. Caelen was well-served in his choice of wife.

As usual, Kirsten Potter delivered an excellent narration. She truly brings the story to life, ensuring the pacing is perfect, and the dialog exciting. She also sets the tone for scenes so well that I'm gasping, crying, or experiencing goose bumps. I'm sad that this story has come to an end. I'll miss the McCabe brothers and their lady-wives.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Post #14 ~ Summertime...Can I Relax Now??

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!


I made it back from BEA and dove straight into graduation madness! Y'all, I'm so, so tired! But I survived both my trip to Chicago (which was fabulously, amazingly awesome!) and my older daughter's graduation which included a HOUSEFUL of company! Graduation was's held at Red Rocks which is just gorgeous. And we had a lovely day - no rain, no was sunny and warm. *sigh* All my kids are now out for summer vacation. And I wanna know...can I relax now?? 

I managed to get all my Spring Cleaning list accomplished with the exception of cleaning out my closet...all before the graduation company arrived. Yay! 

Reading-wise, I'm *still* listening to One Second by Dannika Dark. It's so good and I've done some cleaning just so I could listen! ;) I finished Shatter by Erin McCarthy (the final book in the True Believers series), The Siren by Tiffany Reisz and The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead. I also finished Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley, Derision by Trisha Wolfe, and Discovering You by Brenda Novak. I'm currently reading Awakened by a Demoness by Felicity Heaton and up next is Awakened by the Wolf by Kristal Hollis. This past month has done a lot of damage to my challenges. Ugh!

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


Bookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2016HWLogoButtonBlog AheadClean Sweep ARC Challenhe

Challenge Updates
I made very little progress with my challenges the past few weeks. Seriously, I'd been 7 books ahead in my Goodreads challenge and now I'm 2!! I'm really hoping to get more reading done now that school is out and things have calmed down a bit. :D  I read 4 books towards my #ShelfLove Challenge. I got quite a few new releases read for the New Release Challenge this month. In fact, I feel like what I *did* read was mostly newly released. I once again failed my Reading Assignment Challenge in May (wah!) but that's does mean that I got an "F" for the second quarter BUT I get a do-over in the next quarter. (I will also work at reading those books anyway!) I've off to a slow start with Clean Sweep but hey, I'm gonna get to post a FEW reviews to Netgalley. ;) I'll update my Clean Sweep results with my end-of-month challenge update. #BloggerShame numbers went up by 2 - the two reviews I'll be posting to Netgalley.i And I ended up with 17/15 scheduled posts for Blog Ahead. Woohoo!!

#ShelfLove - 38
Blogger Shame - 8
New Release - 16
Goodreads - 62
#2016HW - 6
#CleanSweep - 1
Blog Ahead - 17/15 posts!

How are y'all doing with your challenges?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Books & Crafts #4 ~ #BookBlogger #CraftCircle

Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add yout tag/label links below and you're good to go!

I'm sharing another craft this month that is quite useful is you have many books (like I do) and you lend them out. This is my version of a bookplate.

I got the library cards and sleeves from a local school supply outlet. I'm pretty sure you can find them online though. The stamp set is from Stampin' Up and is called Property Lines. So I, obviously, stamped the sleeve and/or card and then adhered them to the front (blank)page of my book.

I also had my daughter, Sky, design bookplate stickers using my bookworm (which she also designed):

I had these printed from VistaPrint, I believe.

Do you craft too? Wanna get in on the fun? Just add your link below. And don't forget to check out the other hosts' crafts! :D
(I had problems with the linky - I've included it below. BUT if it doesn't appear correctly or doesn't work, head over to Talk Supe and link up there. Thanks!)

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #88 ~ BEA Edition

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. :)


Okay, so here's a photo of all the books I brought home from BEA. 125 books and 3 ebooks/audiobooks. I've linked the photo to my BEA16 Shelf on Goodreads so you can check out all the goodies I procured. :D Also, I ended up with some duplicates (I actually found a signed copy of Forever With You on a trash can!) so guess what that means?! GIVEAWAYS! Keep an eye out for those over the summer. :)

I also one-clicked a few pretties because I just couldn't help myself!


Forever Hers (Spirits of Saoradh, #1)Dangerous Territory (Alpha Ops, #1)Eros Element (Aether Psychics #1)
I one-clicked Forever Her's after reading Lola's review (@Lola's Reviews) of book 2 - plus, she let me know it was *free*. Dangerous Territory was a one-click after reading Anna's review (@Herding Cats & Burning Soup) of book 6. I one-clicked Eros Element after reading Terri's review (@Second Run Reviews) of book 3. It was also only 99 cents.


I'm happy to report that I've already done a 'shift' in my bookshelves and fit all my new to-be-reads on them. :D Man! That was a lot of work! 

The Wall of Winnipeg and MeMy Heart's in the HighlandsFirst Time: Ian's StoryPretty Much Screwed
I received The Wall of Winnipeg and MeMy Heart's in the Highlands, First Time, and Pretty Much Screwed for review. Thanks to Tantor Media!

DerisionDiscovering You (Whiskey Creek, #10)Awakened by a Demoness (Eternal Mates, #10)Awakened by the Wolf
I also received Derision, Discovering You, Awakened by a Demoness, and Awakened by the Wolf for review. Thanks Trisha Wolfe, Brenda Novak, Felicity Heaton, and Kristal Hollis!

Last Several Weeks' Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
Discovering You by Brenda Novak
Awakened by a Demoness by Felicity Heaton
Awakened by the Wolf by Kristal Hollis
Legal Ease by Lori Ryan
Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks
Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Shatter by Erin McCarthy
Exquisite Trouble by Ann Mayburn
Always by Kindle Alexander
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

Friday, May 27, 2016

New Release Review ~ Wild Abandon ~ Jeannine Colette

Wild AbandonWild Abandon by Jeannine Colette
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease


When you fall in-love it's forever
But sometimes forever comes with a price.

I never meant to meet Nathaniel Teller. It was by accident, on a Tuesday, that I walked into his bar. He was solemn, intense and hiding a secret behind those stoic green eyes.

I never intended to fall in-love with him. We were supposed to be just friends. But I fell for him hard, deep. There's no turning back.

I never thought his past would be so dark. And if I though I had any chance of being in his future, I was wrong. Because his past is his future. 

And I need to walk away.

Wild Abandon served as my introduction to Colette and I was pleased to make her acquaintance. In Wild Abandon, she delivered a solid contemporary romance that while it was formulaic, offered great characters and a lot of humor.

Crystal has come to Napa looking for a new start and love after seemingly all her friends have settled down. She moves in with her best friend, Naomi and her family, and sets out to create a new life.

Barely in town a day, she wanders into Henley's, a local bar, and meets Mr. Grumpy-Pants - um, I mean Nathaniel. He has a story, that one. But he's certainly not willing to share it. Crystal also is hired on at a small local winery, where she meets Ed. He also has a story and as she gets to know him, he shares bits and pieces of it.

Watching Crystal and Nathaniel get acquainted as he continually rescues her from bad dates, was fun. I quickly saw where this was heading but it didn't make it any less exciting to watch. The secrets Nathaniel and Ed were keeping were also something I figured out early on but again, it didn't detract from the story.

I enjoyed seeing Crystal grow. Through her online dating app and her dates, I could see she was always trying to be what she thought a guy would want. The longer she was in Napa, the more she become comfortable in her own skin - realizing what she wanted and that she could and should just be herself.

In Crystal, Nathaniel and Ed saw a second chance to make certain things - not right necessarily but better maybe? They both carried guilt and grief and sadness and it was a joy to see them shake off the yoke of all that and shine as they men they were.

That being said, I do think that my connection to them and their relationships with Crystal would have been stronger with some additional scenes between them for character building.

Also, I don't want to spoil anything but there is a certain trope used that while it didn't bother me in the slightest, might cause issues for some readers.

Overall, Wild Abandon was a solid read. It was a bit predictable but the characters and story as a whole worked for me. And I will definitely read Colette again.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

That's What HE Said #62 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #43

That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies @Chapter Break. Here's the deal: every Thursday, post a line from your book boyfriend to his heroine. Keep in mind, these are direct quotes from dialog in the books. The quote doesn't have to be romantic - just something our hunky hero said to his lucky lady. Be sure to link up over at Chapter Break as well.

My pick this week for That's What He Said is from:

Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley

FYI, I loved this one y'all. So you may see quotes from it for a few weeks. ;)


"Two kinds of women get under your skin. The ones who do damage, they don't feel good there but once you're fuckin' stupid enough to let them in you got no choice but to take the time it takes to work them out. Then there are the ones who don't do damage, who feel good there, feed the muscle, the bone, the soul, not rip it or break it or burn it. The ones you don't wanna work out."

Can you guess which kind Lauren is?!?


This scene made me laugh. Lauren had been explaining her fondness for grape Kool-Aid to Tate and how her ex-husband didn't want her drinking it for fear of ruining furniture...

"What's funny?" I asked.
"I ain't a grape Kool-Aid type of guy either," he answered.
"That's funny?" I asked.
"But you want it, you shouldn't stop yourself from havin' it just because I ain't."
"Okay," I said softly.
"You spill it on my couch, babe, just sayin'..." He stopped.
His neck bent and his face got close to mine. "I really don't give a fuck. My couch is shit."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brandee's Bookish Babble #16 ~ Me & Facebook

Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) I hope you enjoy!


How many of you have Facebook pages? And I'm speaking specifically to pages for your blog. Do y'all use it? How do you use it? Why do you use it? And how many people are seeing it? Do you work at it? 

For me, Facebook is one of the banes of my existence. I started a Facebook page for my blog at a fellow blogger's recommendation. I wasn't, and still am not, a frequent Facebook user. It kinda scares me, I'm technologically challenged when it comes to Facebook, and, well, I'm not always confident in anyone being interested in what I post about - blog-wise or personally. But I created a page for my blog because "that's what you should do." 

Over the past 3 years (that's how long my page has existed) I've gained 'likes' and followers. But again, I'm not good at posting and since I'm not involved in things that would post for me, my page would sit idle for weeks at a time. When I did post, it seemed no one saw them. I'd occasionally have giveaways, and *still* my views didn't increase. In the last year, I realized I could post about your blog posts from your blogs. (technologically challenged, remember?) That's been a way to not only do a little towards promoting y'all but to also keep my page active. However, I cannot understand how Facebook works. I mean, I currently have some 1500 Likes on my page yet there are posts that receive hundreds of views and posts that receive 3. Do y'all understand how Facebook works? (by the way, I understand that Facebook wants me to pay to 'boost' my views but as I'm not a business, despite the fact they seem to see me as such, I'm not going to pay)

So I'm really curious about if y'all have Facebook pages and how you use them. And whether or not having one is really worth the time? I mean, posting from your blogs doesn't take that much time and I really *do* like having a way to promote y'all, but is there a better way?

Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Audio Review ~ Like Gravity ~ Julie Johnson

Like GravityLike Gravity by Julie Johnson
Narrated by: Jillian Macie
Release Date: January 26, 2016 by Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

Twenty-year-old Brooklyn "Bee" Turner is no stranger to grief. After witnessing her mother's brutal murder at age six, Brooklyn is guarded, damanged, and-by all accounts-a bitch. And that's just the way she likes it, if it means keeping everyone at arm's length. When she stumbles, quite literally, into Finn Chambers-campus ladies' man an the lead singer of a local band-she's unprepared for his persistence in befriending her and for the dangerous attraction she begins to feel for him. Because with Finn, she knows that it would be more that just sex, more than just friendship, and maybe even more than just love. When a sinister presence from her past reemerges, Brooklyn will be pushed to her breaking point. For the first time in fifteen years, she will confront both her grief and her memories, as she plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with an unforeseen enemy. Contains mature themes.

Like Gravity was my first read/listen from Julie Johnson and Jillian Macie, and while it didn't completely trip my trigger, I'll definitely give them both another go.

Like Gravity is one of those NA stories with familiar trope - damaged girl meets great guy disguised as a bad boy, and eventually she heals. I liked the suspense element though as well as some of the other circumstances Johnson mixed in. I hoped maybe the suspense would being something fresh to this story. And it did - sort of. But in the end, it felt like melodrama. And that combined with the element of a lack of communication, typical in this genre, left me feeling 'meh' about Brooklyn and Finn's story.

Brooklyn was witness to her mother's murder at the age of 6. After a brief stint in a group foster home, her father, who'd she'd never met, stepped in to take custody of her. However, he was never really interested in having a child so was distant to say the least. Brooklyn is, understandably, reluctant to trust anyone with her heart. Now a sophomore in college, she's facing a double threat - one to her person and one to her heart.

Finn is known as the campus playboy. So when Brooklyn falls into his life, literally, he plays it cool. But they continue crossing paths and the more he learns about her, the more he wants to know. And the more time they spend together, the more caring he proved himself to be.

I like that Brooklyn and Finn's relationship more slow-burn despite their obvious chemistry. It was nice to see them get to know on another slowly. The solid foundation, though, made Brooklyn's reaction to a revelation about Finn seem a bit over-the-top. I also enjoyed Brooklyn's friendship with her best friend. It allowed some more depth to Brooklyn and the story.

As for the suspense element...despite Johnson trying to throw the reader off trail, I figured out the answer. I did like the tension that plot line added but the resolution seemed to simple.

Overall, Like Gravity was a middle-of-the-road read. I felt more could have been done with certain elements and I didn't like the gratuitous drama and angst caused by certain revelations and reactions to them. But I did like the story. Johnson created likable characters and the pacing was pretty good.

Ms. Macie's narration was fair. It took me a little time to warm up to her style but I did and she did a nice job with Brooklyn's and her best friend's voices. Her male voices were pretty good although I'd have preferred them deeper to better distinguish between them in the dialog.