Monday, October 24, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Saga ~ Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 1Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by: Fiona Staples
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Genre: Adult Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Purchased in paperback
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Recommended byKristen @Metaphors and Moonlight

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

Collect Saga issues #1-6

I don't typically read graphic novels. There's nothing wrong with them - I've just never been a comic book girl. However, Kristen reviewed the first few in this series and I was intrigued. When I saw a copy while at Powell's with my daughter, I felt it was meant to be and I grabbed it. After finishing it that afternoon, I decided it was serendipitous, indeed.

First off, the illustrations are incredible. They're brilliantly drawn and colored and the detail is so well done. This could be a television show!

Secondly, the story is compelling. We're introduced to a couple who fell in love despite society saying they shouldn't and they're in hiding and on the run. With a newborn in tow.

Thirdly, I like where this story is going. The statements being made against prejudice, blind loyalty, duty to your family and country - well, I liked all that quite a bit. 

Lastly, the story is actually being told from the infant's, Hazel's, POC. And it seems she's going to have a pivotal role in history - being a bi-species girl. And I'm eager to see how her life progresses.

I was impressed with how well this graphic novel was able to pull me in and get me invested in these characters. I need to get my hands on the next installments.

Friday, October 21, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Hell or High Water ~ Julie Ann Walker

Hell or High Water (Deep Six, #1)Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker
Deep Six #1
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher at BEA
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Recommended byBraine @Talk Supe

In a world on the brink...

Six men. One sunken Spanish galleon. Millions in gold and silver coins lying on the ocean floor. And a past that refuses to let the guys of Deep Six Salvage forget the Navy SEAL motto: the only easy day was yesterday...

There's more than one kind of treasure...

The nation's security has always been CIA agent Oliva Mortier's top priority. But a mission-gone-wrong has begun to make her wonder if there's more to life than risking hers.

And more than one secret at the bottom of the sea...

Only two things could make Leo Anderson abandon his hunt for the legendary lost ship, La Santa Christina, and return to the world of weapons and warfare he swore to leave behind: a capsule of enriched uranium, lost on the ocean floor, and a plea for assistance from the one woman he can't seem to forget...

Hell or High Water was quite a ride! It's romantic suspense that focuses on the suspense. In fact, I think I've talked my Hubs into reading it. :) Thanks, Braine!


  • SEALs. I've always been fascinated with these highly skilled and trained warriors. It was interesting to learn a bit more about their training and abilities.
  • Sea salvage and history. I so enjoyed the historical element Walker added with the inclusion of scenes from the Spanish galleon's Captain - in 1624 - dealing with a ship full of precious cargo and a hurricane. It added an extra element to hook me. Add to that the SEALs starting a salvage business in order to search of any clues to the Spanish wreckage and I was in deep.
  • A kickass female spy! Olivia is a CIA agent and she's a heroine I admired. She knew how to shoot with both her mouth and her gun.
  • Relevance. One of the suspense elements was via an operation where our current world political arena is highlighted.
  • Humor and camaraderie. There was a lot of humor injected with Leo and Olivia throwing about witty and sexually charged banter. But the camaraderie between Leo and his team, the closeness between them as well as the barbs they threw and timely interruptions were a lot of fun and broke the tension. The internal dialog did get a little irksome by the end though.
  • Believable plot and romance.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this introduction to the Deep Six series and I'm eager to move onto the next one.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Jaxson ~ Alisa Woods

Jaxson (River Pack Wolves, #1)Jaxson by Alisa Woods
River Pack Wolves #1
Release Date: September 5, 2015
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Recommended byLola @Lola's Review and Lorna @Rabid Reads

Three brothers. Three Secrets. One hope to save the shifters of Seattle.

Former SEAL Jaxson River would give his life for his brothers and his pack, but if he doesn't claim a mate soon, he'll be forced to step down as their alpha. There's only one problem: Jaxson's dark secret would kill any mate he claimed. With someone kidnapping shifters off the street--and only Jaxson and his brothers, Jace and Jared, to stop them--now is not the time for his secret to come out.

Curvy Olivia Lilyfield is a half-witch orphan with a dark secret of her own. She wants to atone for it by doing good in the world, so when she finds a wolf being tortured in an alley, she doesn't hesitate to help...even though wolves and witches mix like matches and TNT.

Olivia's dangerous magic means she can't let anyone get too close--but Jaxson can't keep his hands off her, and his kisses are more than she can resist. As they race to save the disappearing shifters of Seattle, the true danger lies in loving each other. They're playing with magical fire...and their secrets could end up destroying them both.

Jaxson is a complete novel with HEA, the first in the River Pack Wolves trilogy (Jace and Jared coming soon).

Contains scorching shifter sex, alpha military heroes, and sexy witches. Only readers over 18 should dive into the deliciously hot world of the River brothers.

I believe I first saw a review of Jaxson @Lola's Reviews but I also saw Lorna's review @Rabid Reads. Regardless which came first, when TWO of my blogging friends are recommending a book, I *had* to read it. And once again, neither Lola nor Lorna steered me wrong. Jaxson was an exciting read and worthy introduction to the River Pack Wolves trilogy. Thanks, ladies!! :D

I really enjoyed the action and suspense that the mystery provided. Wondering what was behind the kidnappings and what the kidnappers were doing to shifters and why kept me curious and engaged. While some of the scenes were simplistic, I still appreciate the details of the operations executed in Jaxson's pack's attempts to retrieve victims as well as solve the "why".

But my favorite part of the story is Jaxson and Olivia. These two were so selfless and compassionate about others - putting themselves in danger to help or protect others - they're good people. They had some fun banter and even though some of their getting acquainted seemed to happen off-page, their insta-love felt natural...particularly considering Jaxson's mating instinct. Although Olivia felt it as well.

I also liked my introduction to the secondary characters and I look forward to Jaxson's brothers' stories. Especially since the mystery wasn't solved and I'm equally as eager to figure it all out as are Jaxson and his pack.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Second Chance Summer ~ Jill Shalvis

Second Chance Summer (Cedar Ridge, #1)Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis
Cedar Ridge #1
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Gift in Paperback from Lexxie
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Recommended byLexxie @(un)Conventional Bookviews

Cedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile...

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance...

As its name implies, Second Chance Summer is a second chance romance and it's a well-crafted one at that! Jill Shalvis has been on my TBR for awhile thanks to my blogging wife, Lexxie. And Lex, darling, I'm so sorry I didn't read her sooner but I'm eternally grateful for the gift! =) <3

Reasons I'd recommend this recommended read:

  • A Colorado setting. I adore stories set in my home-state and I am especially fond of Cedar Ridge since it's a small mountain town that feels a lot like home to me.
  • A heroine who left home after suffering unspeakable tragedy, trying to find her way in the world on her own. When Lily suffers another kick in the teeth, she returns home to find that maybe she didn't have to leave home to find her place, nor did she have to undertake the journey alone.
  • A hero who's also suffered a great deal but is adept at putting himself way down the priority list in order to take care of those he loves. He also, apparently, feels a calling to protect others as he works as a firefighter, and in search and rescue. Aidan has his reasons for steering clear of Lily but thankfully their pull to one another overrules it.
  • Strong family dynamics. The Kincaids, Aidan, his siblings, and his mother, are one close-knit family. They've all learned to take care of one another and they're close - whether it's ribbing each other or telling it like it is.
  • Palpable sexual chemistry and a realistic healing. I could feel the sparks between Lily and Aidan from the first time they encountered one another again. Despite being wary of each other, despite doubts and feeling they shouldn't go there again, they air crackled every time they were near each other. But they both had some issues to work through. And even though it seems their reconciliation sparked the healing, they each worked through things on their own, in their own time, with a little advice from family and friends.
  • A strong secondary cast. With a setting like this, I'd have been disappointed if I didn't get strong secondary characters. Shalvis didn't disappoint. Aidan's brothers, Gray and Hudson, his sister Kenna, his mom and Lily's friend Jonathan, all added some humor as well as gave serious advice when needed. They all showed a loyalty and love I admire and I look forward to spending more time with them in Cedar Ridge.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Blogger Chick Chat ~ The Pact ~ Karina Halle

The PactThe Pact by Karina Halle
Narrated by: Lydia Dornet and Shaun Grindell
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Audible
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome-a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He's also on of Stephanie Robson's best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she's known him. Beautiful, funny, and an ambitious businesswoman, Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor's best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he's known her. But some relationships can't be boxed, can't be classified, can't be tamed. Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty. It sounded like fun and games at the time but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life. Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line. The pact is about to change everything.

Both Lexxie and I had The Pact in audio and so we decided to do an audiobook buddy 'listen'. ;) Here's our book chat:

Lexxie: Both Kayla and James really, really piss me off!!! I'm almost at the end of The Pact.

Brandee: Me too! I almost couldn't stand James.

L: How can Steph be happy for James? I would kick him in the nuts if I were her. (They're about to go to NY after Linden's helicopter accident)

B: I completely agree. He was a total schmuck. So self-centered. I'd kick him in the nuts twice! :)

L: hehe
I've finished listening now :) And I did enjoy the story, even if I found it a bit frustrating that Linden and Steph has to meet so many roadblocks.

B: Yeah, I got to that point as well. I wasn't happy that Linden gave her up for James. I didn't feel like that was a best friend move - at least on James' part. In a way I thought the roadblocks were contrived to keep the story going. But I still loved it. :)

L: And I found the Scottish accent to sound a bit fake in this one...

B: I was wondering what you thought about the accent. There were times when I thought it was real because his American accent sounded funny but I liked the female narrator's Scottish accent better. So you don't think he's (the narrator) a Scot?

L: No definitely not a Scot! In the beginning, it really peeved me, and almost made me stop listening. Thank goodness Linden had much less chapters than Steph! And I thought the female narrator was better, too.

B: Okay, well I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't necessarily like the male narrator. I got used to it though.

L: Oh me too! By the end I was OK with him...but just wait until you listen to The Offer.

B: I'm looking forward to it.

L: James acted like a total douche! Especially if he had understood from the beginning that Linden and Steph were seeing each other! He should have realised how happy they both were.

B: Yeah, I don't know that I'd have remained friends with James but we weren't privy to his conversation with Linden when he apologized. So we don't know what went down there but Steph - I guess she was okay since things worked out in the end.

L: Yeah, but no matter that James said, he was really only thinking of himself - accusing Linden of not understanding him (James) and all the hardships of his life... Whereas he was not at all trying to see anything at all from Linden's POV.

B: I agree. A narcissist.

L: Totally.

We are SO good at this!
I found Kayla to be a hypocrite, too! Even if James later said that Kayla had told him about Linden and Steph when she was drunk...

B: Yeah, I'm interested to read Kayla's story to see if she's redeemed at all because yeah, she was a hypocrite. I almost felt like she was jealous.

L: Kayla's story will be the next one I listen to, and I can't wait either. And I liked Kayla better in The Offer, too.

She may have been jealous, especially because Linden and Steph were always close - friends, but always with the kind of possibility for something more - especially for those looking in from the outside of their relationship.

B: That's how I felt about Kayla. She didn't want to give Linden the benefit of the doubt with Steph since *she* didn't get him to stick around. I'm glad I'll like her better in The Offer.

L: So you do know you'll like her better, eh? ;)

B: Well, I'll like her better if you did ;)

Did you feel like all their baggage was appropriately resolved?

L: Linden and Steph? Or everybody?

B: Linden and Steph

L: I think Linden and Steph came to just accept that being best friends AND lovers was possibly the greatest thing ever for them.

And I'm not sure if anyone can really resolve all their baggage...but if most has been dealt with and they are trying to move forward in a positive way, things can definitely work out.

B: I agree and I was thrilled that they realized best friends make the best lovers. Because they do and their couplehood was a long time coming.

L: Yes! And I think that being both best friends and lovers make for the best relationships - especially long term :) <3

Knowing each other well, and appreciating each other, having things to talk about...that's just as important as the passion.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Linden and Steph was how they were always cheering each other on. Linden helped Steph have the courage to start her own clothing store, and she made him feel balanced and loved - even before he could admit that love was possibly the most important ingredient in their friendship.

B: Exactly. And by that time Steph and Linden had had plenty of time to marinate in all the goodness that taking their relationship to a higher level would be. Even if it was scary. Although Linden seemed quite certain of them having staying power. :)

L: Yeah, if it hadn't been for James screwing everything up for them with his jealousy and his pettiness...

Good thing Linden survived his accident!

B: LOL Yes, definitely a good thing!

Absolutely. Their friendship was much deeper than what they had with James in my opinion. And I adored that Steph gave Linden validation - well that have validation to each other. Something they both needed  and didn't get elsewhere.

L: True! Their friendship was always stronger than what either of them had with James. They spent more time with each other than all three of them, and even felt somewhat bad about that at times.

B: I'm looking forward to continuing this series. And I get to see Karina this weekend. ;)

Final thoughts:
I had a hard time putting The Pact away, spending extra time cleaning and on the daily walks. ;) I enjoyed the format, dual POV between Steph and Linden - as well as how Halle worked the time line. And despite the angst, The Pact was a lot of fun!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Post #16 ~ Knock, knock...

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!


Alright, it's mid-October and company has arrived! Sky is home for her fall break (we *all* are so happy to see her, including her kitty) and my MIL is visiting so that she can see Sky as well as see Berk and Jax perform in a marching band competition and an orchestra concert. Whew! It was a busy week having projects needing to be completed as well as getting ready for company.

Let's see, week before last...gosh! I can't remember so it must have been busy! ;) This past week, I attempted to implement a new daily schedule so that I can be in the groove once I start NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to get up 30 minutes earlier (4 a.m.) so I'm not sure I'm going to be able to swing this new schedule! *haha* We'll see how this coming week works but I may have to adjust things from a "start time" of 4:30.

I didn't get as much read these past two weeks as I'd have liked to. I did finish listening to Bossman by Vi Keeland and According to Hoyle by Abigail Roux. Both were fantastic listens! I'm currently listening to The Baller by Vi Keeland. I finished Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis (look for the review soon), Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, A Tour of Souls by Diana Modica, and With Ties That Bind #2 by Trisha Wolfe. I'm almost finished reading Jaxson by Alisa Woods and up next are Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie, and Mr. Mysterious by JA Huss.

I admit I did a lot more listening since I spent a lot of time cleaning. ;)

Did y'all have a good week?!? Here's to hoping this upcoming one brings some awesome fall weather and some great reads! :D


Bookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2016HWLogoButtonBlog Ahead 2016-Oct

Challenge Updates
I'm continuing to plug away at some of my challenges. Here's how I'm doing by the numbers:

#ShelfLove - 62
Blogger Shame - 10
New Release - 41
Goodreads - 118
#2016HW - 8
Blog Ahead - 8/31 posts so far

So far for my OctobeRec Fest I've read 7 books. And one of them counted towards my 2016 Bookish Resolutions because it was a recommendation from Jax! ;)  I've started lining up reads for November and December which will focus on Traveling to the Terminus - where I do some catching up in series that I'm woefully behind in. ;)

How are y'all doing with your challenges?

Friday, October 14, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Sweet Thing ~ Renee Carlino

Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1)Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino
Sweet Thing #1
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Recommended by: Teresa @Readers Live a 1000 Lives

"You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together... then you'll hear the sound of your soul."

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She's an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use or exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father's cafe, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays hot to undiscovered musicians and artists. She's denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions--for him, for music--but her father's legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.

Ah, Sweet Thing. This one's been gathering virtual dust on my nook for quite awhile. Teresa's review pushed me into one-clicking this one. I'm just sorry it took me so long to get to it. This was Carlino's debut and there were things that signified that but the story, by far, outweighed any debut issues. Here are a few of the reasons I loved Sweet Thing and why I'll be reading more from Carlino:

  1.  Well-defined characters. Will and Mia are so well fleshed out I feel as though they're my friends. I understood them, their strengths, flaws, vulnerabilities. Even though there were times when they, especially Mia, made me want to bang my head against my nook, I got what made them tick. And I loved them both. They both had some growing to do, again especially Mia, but I enjoyed being on the journey of self-discovery with them.

    I'm going to mention secondary characters here as well because they added depth to Will and Mia and to the story overall.
  2. The journey. I mentioned this above but Sweet Thing is a journey of self-discovery and that's something I enjoy reading. What I particularly liked was how Carlino conveyed the impact of having a specific perception and how it can shape your thinking. I also liked how she related the consequences of having that perception shift.
  3. Music! Y'all know I'm a word girl but I'm also a huge fan of words set to music and Carlino's use of music and songs in Sweet Thing was in perfect rhythm with the story.
  4. I met Carlino and she is the sweetest thing in person!
If y'all haven't given Carlino a look or if, like me, you've had Sweet Thing or another of her books on your ereader for awhile, I urge you to grab one or unearth the one you have. I'm giving you my word you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Tempting Tempo ~ Michelle Mankin (@MichelleMankin)

Tempting Tempo (Tempest, #5; Black Cat Records, #8)Tempting Tempo by Michelle Mankin
Tempest #5
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle but I beta read as well
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Sager Reed, the strong and silent bassist of the rock band Tempest, is well acquainted with loss. The thoughtful artist's own tattoos only hint at his turbulent youth. He buries his guilt about it deeply within his troubled heart.
Melinda T. Belle, the daughter of a dysfunctional rock legend, as a rule avoids emotional entanglement. In fact, she has turned her back on nearly everyone and everything she has ever known. Now she is alone, trying desperately to find fulfillment in the one dream she has left, competitive skiing.

**PSA - The first FOUR books in The Tempest Series (Irresistible Refrain, Enticing Interlude, Captivating Bridge, and Relentless Rhythm) are currently only 99 cents each!! You're welcome!**

Also, because I love y'all and Tempting Tempo is an incredible story that works as a standalone (although I *highly* recommend you read the whole series) I'll gift a copy to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment to be entered. I'll use to pick the winner.

Now, here's my review. ;)

It's been awhile since I spent time with the Tempting Men of Tempest and I must say I relished being back with them. Oh, a few of them made me want to smack 'em for their behavior but that seems standard when spending any time with these reformed bad boys of rock. Of course, for most of them their behavior significantly changed - for the better - as they've settled down with women who captured their hearts.

In Tempting Tempo, it's Sager's turn. Sager, serious Sager...who's so into Melinda aka Blue that he jumps at the second chance he's given with her. These two get first got cozy in Relentless Rhythm, the previous installment. But betrayal, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings put distance between them. With Tempest reconvening in Vancouver and Sager and Blue bumping into one another, the connection as well as the sparks rekindle.

As per usual in a Tempest novel, Mankin takes on a social issue. This time she targets anorexia. Blue, having grown up in a less than loving home, has a skewed body image. Being a ski cross competitor doesn't help as she feels a lower weight would likely aid her on the course. And then there's her impulsiveness when it comes to making decisions, which generally leads to poor ones. Essentially, Blue feels the only thing she can control is her food intake. Sager sees more though. He sees all her flaws and still seems to love her. A love she finds it difficult to trust.

Sager, naturally, has had his own share of hard times. Growing up in Southside with an abusive dad and drug dealing older brother led to no good. Luckily he found a family with King. That enabled him to get a handle on his anger. Music and art became his outlets but he never believed he'd find someone to love all parts of him. Til Blue.

Of course, the road to love and happiness is bumpy. And I appreciated how Mankin created the obstacles she threw in their way - particularly the life-altering event Blue experiences that allows her to change her perspective, especially regarding herself. I think these two have a few challenges ahead but can weather them together.

I enjoyed that the other members of Tempest and even Brutal Strength are present in varying degrees - some with integral parts. I liked getting glimpses of what life is like for them now and am extremely eager for King's story. And possibly Mary's as well. Oh, but I delighted in seeing past that woman's icy facade.

Full of emotion, a gripping story, smexy scenes that may fog up your reading glasses, and characters that are engaging and genuine, Tempting Tempo is another gem in the Tempest series.

One of the things I've always appreciated and admired about Mankin's Tempest series is her desire to bring awareness to social issues via the story. In Tempting Tempo, she wields her pen for eating disorders. Mankin's son helped her put together the book trailer and a video interview based on questions the National Eating Disorder Association recently posed to her. They worked together on the project for weeks and when they finished, he told her how proud he was of her for speaking publicly about her personal struggles. Here are the trailer video as well as the interview: