Monday, October 31, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ First Grave on the Right ~ Darynda Jones


First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson #1
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance/Mystery
Source: Paper ARC from publisher sent to B&N
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #OctobeRecFest, #ShelfLove
Recommended byRobyn @robgirlbooks (honestly, a better question is who *didn't* recommend it but Robyn did the arm twisting)
Goodreads

Synopsis
This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out her might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.



If I could literally kick myself, I would. As it is, I'm figuratively kicking myself for letting this absolute gem of a book languish on my shelf for soooo long! Egads! This was a good time!

  • love Charley's sarcasm
  • love that her Jeep is named for a Stephen King novel - Misery
  • those early scenes with Reyes were smokin'! LOL Literally
These were my notes from just the first few chapters. The mystery set up was fantastic and entertaining...on all counts. The characters are all supremely developed - I'm so eager to get better acquainted with everyone, particularly Cookie and Uncle Bob. Everyone was such a hoot! And yet also deep. There was humor galore courtesy of Charley's wit and snark. I want to be Charley! Especially because REYES! But maybe not so much because of all the getting beat up. ;)

I'm thrilled I had the foresight to know I was going to love this series and therefore purchased book #2...when it released! ;)

Thanks, Robyn, for the arm twisting. This was a  really, really good read! (In fact, I kept finding myself thinking "Oh, I'll just go read more Charley," except I'd already finished. :D



Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Update ~ October

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 Luka
      • 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 October

Blogging Goals
  • I've continued to be better at keeping up with commenting and commenting back in October. Yay! :D I'm still working at creating a schedule to balance everything though.  
Reading Goals
  • My rating is still at 22%. I'm not doing so well with this resolution. I'll continue to work at it though. 
  • I did get one of my Kids' Recs List read in October - Alice in Wonderland was an interesting read. I'm hoping to get a chat review done with Jax. I also read another book, I'll Give You the Sun, at Sky's request. She didn't change her list to include this one but I'm still going to give myself some credit! ;)
Personal Goals
  • My personal goals - well, it seems I can't get it all together at one time. :) I'm still continuing to work at them. I slacked off a little on exercising in October because we had some colder weather and it was WINDY so I didn't make it outside. I can exercise indoors but my kids had left the exercise room a disaster and I just couldn't make myself go down there. :/ I participated in the Blog Ahead Challenge in October and was able to get 28 posts created and scheduled. This DOES free up some time for me to participate in NaNoWriMo in November. Woot! I even have posts scheduled into January. That's a good feeling.
    We left today for our final band competition - State - in Grand Junction. I know my kids will move right into the next musical activity on their plate, but I'll be glad marching band season is done even if we've had a great season!

    I AM participating in NaNoWriMo starting Tuesday. I will do my best to be as present as possible in the blogosphere. But if I'm not around as much, just know I'm working hard at writing. :)
     

Friday, October 28, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Chat Review ~ I'll Give You the Sun ~ Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Source: Borrowed from Sky's friend
Rating: 5 Beautiful, Exploding with Color Bookworms
Challenges: #OctobeRecFest
Recommended by: Sky
Goodreads

Synopsis
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways...until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else - an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing - often all at once.


*****

As y'all know, Sky was home last week for her fall break. Her friend, Maya, at Reed lent her I'll Give You the Sun because she thought it was such a moving read. Sky devoured it in a day and then asked me to read it. Since it was her recommendation and she wanted us to fangirl over it, I decided a Mom/Daughter Chat Review was in order. Enjoy!

Sky: How do you start these conversations with Lexxie?

Me: We just start talking like we would if we were sitting together talking...

Sky: Ummmmmmm
How was your day?

Me: LOL Silly - we're supposed to talk about the book! 😛

Sky: You said like we were if we were sitting talking together! 😛

Me: Stinker! ❤
I'll start...
I'll Give You the Sun was very impactful (is that a word?) Why did you want me to read it?

Sky: This is a hard question to answer!

Me: Ooh, I've stumped you already 😉

Sky: Oh my goodness. Hmmm.....

Me: How did you feel about how the story was conveyed - with the switching POVs and timelines?

Sky: *****I DOUBLE TEXT

Me: What?

Sky: I'm answering your question right now
that's why my dots are moving 
the first question that is
A lot of the time I convey thoughts in separate bubbles

oops!!
I'll stop doing that for this conversation

Me: Tech-challenged mom, remember?

Sky: I guess something about it just really left a mark on me. It's not really that there's an important moral or message, necessarily, but the way that the book is written is just masterful. It really takes you on a wild ride. Also, I love character-driven books like this one. I think maybe that was why I wanted you to read it. The characters from IGYTS have a way of getting in your head and they're just so real.
Also the emotional roller coaster that is this book is something else... Books that make me cry the whole way through I feel are always really amazing.

Me: I'm a character-driven story fan as well and I agree. The way Nelson described every little detail (in an incredibly way) about how both Noah and Jude were feeling...I just...they did get in my head and I wanted to hug them. It made me so sad that something, that many siblings experience, was able to drive a wedge between them. Competitiveness. Selfishness. All normal, I suppose.
And yes, it was quite the emotional roller coaster. And that's a mark of a fabulous book in my opinion as well. 🙂

Sky: I don't know really if the wedge was driven between the siblings or if it was between the characters themselves! By that I mean that I feel as if Jude and Noah both isolated themselves from who they truly were, and thereby each other.

Me: You don't think there was a wedge? I agree that they isolated themselves from each other - and that was heartbreaking. But they intentionally did things to the other knowing what the repercussions would be. Those things were done with intent.
I liked when, I think it was Jude, said that they weren't recognizable anymore. They'd removed from themselves all that made them who they were. I know this was done after the tragic event but I also think the competitiveness had placed a barrier between them. They didn't have twin-speak for awhile...

Sky: Hm, I guess so.
It's been awhile since I read it.
haha

Me: You're going to have to re-read it since you devoured it the first time! 😀

Sky: I know!

Me: It's okay to disagree with me though 😉
Did you have a favorite character?

Sky: Noah and Brian!
What about you?

Me: I don't know...I felt for Guillermo and also...oh shoot, I can only remember his last name (Ralph) the British guy.
But yeah, Noah and Brian made me smile quite a bit. I loved the stargazing, the search for meteorites (is that the right term?), and Noah's descriptions of his feelings when he was with Brian...when he thought about Brian. It was incredible!

And as a mom, I felt for Jude as well. She'd been going through a "normal" teenage phase when what happened happened. She needed her mom and she didn't have her anymore.

Which makes me think...both Noah and Jude really withdraw after "the event" and they think it's for the same reason but it's not. And they both feel so much guilt for something they had no control over. (well, Noah had control over a few things, but...)

Sky: Oscar!

Me: Yesssss!

Sky: Oscore

Me: They all experienced so much early in life or at least at critical stages and they had to grow up much too quickly!

Sky: I agree!
How did you feel about Mom's actions?

Me: That's tough. Because of course, I don't agree with what was going on. But I also can see where she was coming from - especially the being true to yourself element. She couldn't very well tell Noah to be himself when she wasn't being true to herself. (but don't worry, I wouldn't do that)
How did you feel about her actions?

Sky: I felt similarly conflicted, but most of all I felt like it really showed how human she was. How we change, we make mistakes, and mostly we're just doing our best. I felt like she did a disservice to Dad -- that aspect, I really felt like she did a poor job of handling. But you're right. Her situation was such that what she ended up choosing would have been best for everyone, I think. But I like that Mom drives the entire book -- that she's the focal point of everything that happened and everything that happens. I really think Noah might be onto something when he said she seemed like she was from a different planet, because she is a very good human, but she's like the black hole at the center of the galaxy that is IGYTS.

Me: You're absolutely right about Mom being flawed. In fact, I think that all the characters are shown to be flawed...very human. We do all make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.
What you said is very profound. I don't think I really thought about Mom driving the story in those terms but she certainly did. And I also liked Noah's description of her - what did her call her? A blow in? I like your black hole analogy though. Very accurate.

I really liked how everyone was all tangled up in the same story. You know I firmly believe in things happening for a reason and so I liked the interconnection in the story.

Sky: Me too!! That was something I really admired about it. The plot made me think of those funny pictures of people with string tacked all over their corkboard


But really, the humanistic aspect of the story was something super important to me. It was so refreshing to see characters who were so human, even if in a lot of ways they really weren't normal at all. It meant a lot to see them making mistakes, and I liked that none of them were really FIXED at the end! Everyone just learned to live with what happened and go from there; there was no magical remedy. I really appreciated that.

Me: I liked that as well - the fact that there wasn't a magical cure. They did what they did, learned what they learned, and coped...AND LIVED. That's what Mom would have wanted. Although it might have broke her heart to know the route they took to get there. But that's part of life as well.
We can't not mention the art. Oh my goodness the art! I felt as though I could almost see it all in my mind. I loved the interconnection there as well. But the color, the passion...really, it's how Noah communicated for a long time, I think.

Sky: I definitely headcanon Noah as autistic.
Especially the lack of verbal communication and his art...I dunno, that's just really the way it struck me.
He kind of reminded me of Anna from Soul Walker. 🙂

Me: headcanon?
Yeah, I could see that but in the end I don't think he was

Sky: Trendy teen term
you don't think so?

Me: Hmm...maybe?

Sky: Not even high-functioning?

Me: So yeah, now that you mention it, Noah does remind me of Anna 😉
High-functioning for sure though
I don't know why it didn't hit me while I was reading but now that I think about it - his inner dialog about not knowing what to do with his hands, etc., yeah, that does sound like autism.

Sky: Also how single-track he is, and his art

Me: True. I couldn't believe how Jude described him drawing and drawing until he had to stick his hand in the freezer.

Sky: Dad's scientist side made me laugh. "Oh that makes sense." Hahahahaha

Me: LOL That made me laugh as well. And it's funny that neither Noah nor Jude got much of his science-y brain. 🙂

Sky: It is!
Oh, Guillermo!
We have to talk about Guillermo.

Me: Yes, let's...

Sky: Oh, but first!
How much of the end did you guess?
The only think I was missing was Jude's dancing sand women. 
I liked that aspect of the book - getting to figure out everything and try to guess what was coming

Me: I was wrong about the "who" with Jude's dancing sand women.
I enjoyed that aspect as well. Again, everything was so interconnected. It was a fun element - trying to guess.

Sky: Maya said that she didn't see the thing with Mom coming at all, haha.

Me: Hmm...I did. And I always felt something was off. Mom's secret...why do you think she was hiding that one part of herself that she didn't have to hide?

Sky: Society. 😛
No, haha, I think she did it for her kids

Me: How so? (I know we're being obtuse here but I don't want to be spoiler-y)

Sky: I think that she felt their lives would be healthier if she hid everything and tried to make it seem like nothing had changed. What she didn't understand is that kids are perceptive.
I think eventually it got to the point where she and Dad had to change something, though. So she tried to do it in a way that would break things gently for her kids.

Me: True - kids are very perceptive!
But I felt like the one thing she was hiding was something she could share with her kids - bond over
Guillermo, how do you feel about him?

Sky: I agree. And I think that was her mistake.
I think Guillermo needed Oscar, because he didn't know how to cope.

Me: Of course, it's easy for us to see that.
And Oscar needed Guillermo as well, for sure!
Isn't it interesting how that one little piece of information, once Guillermo had it, completely changed his perception of things and thereby his life?

Sky: Yes! And I think it did for all of them!

Me: True. How did you feel about how Jude handled that?
And what else do you want to say about Guillermo?

Sky: I don't remember what Jude did.
I think something about the stone could be a metaphor for the people in this book...I liked the way the stoneworking was described.

Me: I felt Jude handled it all very maturely - that's all. I was impressed.
I loved the stoneworking as well. Guillermo's work - particularly the woman coming out of the man's chest and the stone giants. Oh, and the angel! But I also liked Jude realizing she had something to say but it had to be said through that particular medium. And then when she went to work, the piece that came first wasn't what she'd intended but was something she needed to say as well. 
Yes, the stone could be a metaphor for the characters...perceptive of you. 😉

Sky: Hahaha, thanks.

Me: Is there anything else you wanted to discuss? I'm wondering if we've covered all your "more on that later"s... 🙂
By the way, I loved Jude's "That Girl" epiphany. That was awesome!

Sky: Oh yeah!
I was telling you to wait and see, haha.

Me: I'm so happy that Maya shared this book with you and that you then shared it with me. I can't say enough glowing things about it. It was sometimes tough to read but it was a beautiful story and beautifully told. I loved it!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Addicted to You ~ Krista & Becca Ritchie


Addicted to You (Addicted, #1)Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Addicted #1
Release Date: May 22, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #OctobeRecFest, #ShelfLove
Recommended byTanya @Girl Plus Books
Goodreads

Synopsis
She's addicted to sex. He's addicted to booze...the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway's biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale's best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they've pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They've mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other.

New Adult Romance recommended for readers 18+ for mature content




I've had Addicted to You hanging around on my Kindle since July of 2013! So long that I can't remember whose review prompted me to one-click. (It's currently *FREE* by the way...you're welcome!) But it was Tanya @Girl Plus Books gushing about her love of this series that prompted me to unearth this gem. Tanya, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get this one read. ;)

Reasons you should meet Lily and Lo:
  • Unique New Adult Plot
    Y'all know I'd gotten tired of the standard NA plot line and had shied away for awhile. Lily and Lo have tempted me back with a plot unlike any I've read before. Oh, there's angst and drama but it's the reasons behind the angst and drama that are rather refreshing. See, Lo is an alcoholic and his reasons for ever having taken that first drink broke my heart. And Lily - she's addicted to sex. And while the reason(s) behind that haven't been fully explored (maybe there isn't a real cause) the repercussions of her addiction, the actions she takes and the suffering she endures because of her addiction also broke my heart.
  • The Writing
    While it's not perfect, the Ritchie's ability to craft such complex characters with such a riveting and compelling story around them is impressive. I'm utterly captivated by Lily and Lo - how they're so entrenched in each others' lives and addictions, how their addictions entangle, and their addiction to one another. I feel so much for them. My heart ached. I cried. Their story is *not* pretty but the journey they've been on and the turn the took in this book...well, I'm hoping for something beautiful to emerge.
  • The Secondary Cast
    While I didn't get a good feel for everyone, the secondary characters added depth to the story and are interesting enough that I'm eager to continue this entire series, including the spinoffs, to see what happens with them. Lily's sisters, Rose in particular, have me especially intrigued.
  • The Message
    Maybe there's not really a message but here's what I took away... people, all people, are flawed but no less deserving of love. Lily and Lo hid their lives, their addictions, for fear of what others would think, when what they needed most was the love and support those others could offer. (of course, Lo's dad is just despicable and no help at all!) When you hit rock bottom and find that something you're unwilling to lose, it's helpful to have your family and friends at your back.
I can't say enough good things about Addicted to You. Again, it's not perfect but is deserving of love nonetheless. ;) I've already downloaded #2, Addicted for Now, and plan to read it next month.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#OctobeRecFest Audio Review ~ Bossman ~ Vi Keeland


BossmanBossman by Vi Keeland
Narrated by: Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Adult, Comtemporary Romance
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Recommended byNaomi @Naomi's Reading Palace
Goodreads

Synopsis
The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn't exactly make a good impression. I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date. He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice. So I told him to mind his own damn business--his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business--and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn't help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked. When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out. But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us--telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood. My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I'd never see him again. I mean, what were the chances I'd run into him again in a city with eight million people?

Then again... What were the chances a month later he'd wind up being my new sexy boss?




I went into Bossman expecting a fun read. I was ever so pleasantly surprised to get that and so much more. And I can't wait for more Vi Keeland.

Highlights:
  • Best first meeting EVER. The way things transpire between Chase and Reese after they met in the hallway by the restrooms was hilarious and a story meant to be told to your grandchildren. So fun!
  • Strong foundation. This couple took time to get to know one another and be friends before taking the relationship to the next level. I had as much fun getting to know them as they did getting to know one another. And Reese had good reasons for not wanting an office romance but this one worked.
  • A couple made for each other. Not only were Chase and Reese a match for each other in that Reese always had a comeback for Chase's cockiness but they both had several similar experiences which made dealing with the baggage they carried easier to cope with. Their sexual chemistry was off the charts and yet they still took the time to become friends.
  • An office romance with some focus on the office. Reese is in marketing for Chase's company and I really appreciated how Keeland spent so much time showing her at work - how a new branding campaign would be launched, market testing, etc. I don't know if this is how things are really done but it lent an authenticity to the story that I liked. Besides, one of the products is a ladies grooming was. ;)
Honestly, there wasn't much I didn't like about Bossman. If I had to pick one thing it'd be Reese's continued reluctance to enter into a relationship with Chase because of what happened at her last job. I understood it in the beginning bu then the circumstances were completely different.

The narrators were excellent! Maxine Mitchell and Joe Arden embodied their respective characters, had the range for the other voices required, kept the pacing smooth, and conveyed the range of emotions the story dictated. I'm already looking into their other work. ;)


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blog Tour Spotlight & Excerpt ~ Of Flame and Light ~ Cecy Robson

Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson
Weird Girls #7
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N

Synopsis
Taran Wird holds the unique ability to conjure fire and lightning. She is mated to Gemini, Second in Command to the Squaw Valley Pack of the Lake Tahoe Region, and the sole werewolf to possess the ability to split into two wolves. And although they are mates, Taran's insecurities have driven them apart.

Devastated by an injury that left her with a zombie-like limb, Taran struggles to regain command over her magic. But when her arm and her power turn against her, lashing out on those she most loves, she knows she can no longer carry this burden alone. Not that she likes the alternative.

The only way to regain control of her magic is to align and learn from the local coven of witches - the very ones who sought to banish her when she and her three unique sisters first moved to the mystical region. But although Taran is trying, the teachings don't come easy, and the tasks leave her weak and emotionally shattered.

Yet Taran must learn and learn fast. Time is running out. The fire she once mastered so easily has become her greatest adversary and is now slowly burning her alive...



Son of a bitch.

I groan as I roll onto my back. I’d like to say this is the first time I’ve been knocked unconscious. I’d also like to say my boobs are the same size, but hey, such is my life.

Dirt. All I sense is that and dank heaviness that accompanies a . . . cave? Through the fog taking up residency along my brain, I make out a dim glow. It takes me a moment to realize it’s coming from my light-saber arm. I push up on my hands, grimacing when my fingers sink into the soil. Yet it’s what I see when I glance up that has me scrambling to my feet.

A lonely hand scuttles by me, chasing after a rat. Oh, but it gets better. I press my back against a dirt wall as a foot hops by, chasing after the hand, that’s chasing after the rat, with a decapitated head rolling —I shit you not—merrily behind them.

It’s like some kind of fucked up nursery rhyme. I don’t want to know the next verse, especially not with the collection of zombies gathering from all sides. These are different from the ones who pulled us onto shore. Their grisly faces are more emaciated and their bodies are in a more advance stage of decomposing. As they shuffle toward me, pieces of their skin fall in small moist clumps.

I hold out my hand. “Stay back.”

They collectively moan.

And move closer.

I grit my teeth, summoning that spark from deep in my core. The dank air seems to enclose around me, giving me a chill and snuffing out my inner heat.

Shit, shit, shit.

On wobbly legs, I slide my back against the dirt wall, my hands out. The zombies gather closer, cocking their heads, their empty sockets mesmerized by the glow of my arm. At first, I think they’re simply curious. But then their short thick tongues push forward, appearing to lick what’s left of their lips.

I jump when another hand scrambles by, its pinky brushing against my foot. My back presses against the dirt wall as I slide against it. I’m not sure where to go. I only know I can’t stay here.

I bang my fists against the wall, trying to stimulate my fire. My left hand doesn’t react, tensing uselessly. But that spark I so need triggers from my right arm, igniting flames along the path of my blue veins only to putter out.


Come on, light.



Enter to Win the Ultimate Weird Girls Prize Pack, including a Coach® purse stuffed with an autographed copy of Sealed with a Curse, an audiobook of A CURSED EMBRACE, t-shirts, a water bottle, magnets, signed postcards, pins, and bookmarks.

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Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is the new adult and contemporary romance author of the Shattered Past series, the O’Brien Family novels, and the Carolina Beach series, as well as the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A 2016 double nominated RITA® finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, Cecy is a recovering Jersey girl living in the South who enjoys carbs way too much, and exercise way too little. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, you can typically find her on her laptop silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.


Author Links


This tour is presented by Paranormal Cravings Book Reviews. To follow the tour, click here for the schedule.

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
Goodreads

Synopsis
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
Goodreads

Synopsis
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!

Highlights:

  • 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
Challenges
Recommended byLola @Lola's Review and Lorna @Rabid Reads
Goodreads

Synopsis
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
Goodreads

Synopsis
RESCUE ME
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
Goodreads

Synopsis
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.
Totally.

L: Totally.
heh



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!