Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Post #3 ~ Pardon the Interruption

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!

Yeah, it's been a few weeks. Sorry y'all! There has been too many things going on and I didn't make time to get my Sunday Post done. My older daughter made the All-County Band on baritone saxophone, so the week before last was full of me taking her 'down-the-hill' to rehearsals and to see her concert, on top of orthodontist appointments for my younger ones, and making sure they're all fed on those days when they are at school from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for their various musical activities. The week before - I can't even remember now. I've slept - a little - since then. ;) This week was a little slower but not much since we had a 'recruitment tour' for orchestra and jazz band (we visit the 2 local elementaries and the middle school to recruit for the music dept) and I was hauling instruments from location to location. However, I'm currently on my way home from a girls' weekend spent scrapbooking. :D

Reading-wise, week before last was a busy week. I got several books read. It helped having those 3 hours waiting on my daughter's rehearsals to be over. ;) This week, I finished My TBR read (listen), and 3 books - so I'd say another good reading week. :D

I hope this past week was full of good stuff for y'all! And I hope you'll enjoy the upcoming one as well! :)


COYERBTBsignupBookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Challenge Updates
So far, I've read 11 books out of 40 for COYER B2B, 6 books for #ShelfLove, 6 books for Blogger Shame, and 5 books for my New Release challenges. Some of these overlap - I've read 14 books so far this year.

How are y'all doing with your challenges?

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #80

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. :)

Welcome to my first edition of BB&B for 2016! ;) It's been a few weeks since I posted. And despite the fact that I got a lot of holiday loot in the form of GCs to Amazon and B&N, I've been somewhat paralyzed when it comes to actually spending any of it. There are just so many books I want to read, but....can I get to them right away? Probably not and so I've sat on my one-click trigger. ;) I did pick up a couple of things though. Here's what I added recently.

Happily Ever Now (Happily Ever After, #0.5)Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1)House of RoyalsClub Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands, #1)
 All these titles were FREE, and Happily Ever Now was Lola @Lola's Reviews' recommendation, Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper was Christy @Christy's Love of Books' recommendation. House of Royals was a recommendation from Kristen @Moonlight & Metaphors, and Club Shadowlands was recommended by Anna @Herding Cats & Burning Soup.

Riding the Storm (ACRO, #1)Real (Real, #1)Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)

I picked up these from the library! I've had Riding the Storm and Real on my TBR for awhile, thanks to Lorna @Rabid Reads and Naomi @Nomi's Reading Palace. Libriomancer was put on my TBR by Terri @Second Run Reviews.

Last First KissLike GravityLingusRevelationRestraint

I received Last First Kiss, Like Gravity, Lingus, Revelation and Restraint in audio for review. Thanks, Tantor Audio!

Last Week's Reviews
Upcoming Reviews
Troublemaker by Melissa Pearl
Charming by Dannika Dark
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Saturday, January 30, 2016

My TBR List Review ~ Wrong Number, Right Guy ~ Elle Casey


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

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

Fun, right?!?


Wrong Number, Right GuyWrong Number, Right Guy by Elle Casey
The Bourbon Street Boys #1
Narrated by: Emily Foster
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Source: Audible credit
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove

When a mysterious text message summons May Wexler to a biker bar in downtown New Orleans, she knows something is very wrong. Her sister has sent out an SOS, but when May gets there, she's nowhere to be found and May is the one in trouble--she's wearing pink espadrilles, she's got a Chihuahua in her purse, and she's in the middle of a shootout.

After tall, muscular Ozzie comes to her rescue, May has no choice to but follow him to safety. At the headquarters of his private security firm, the Bourbon Street Boys, she finds a refuge for the night--and the offer of a job. But it's not long before a gun-toting stalker isn't the only complication in May's life: the more time she spends with Ozzie, the less she can deny that they've got some serious chemistry. A wrong number got her into this mess...Will it also get her the right guy?

Wrong Number, Right Guy was a meh read for me. There were moments that were funny, a few that were suspenseful, but mostly I just kept wondering when it was going to get somewhere.

May meets Ozzy when he mistakenly texts her and she mistakenly thinks the texts are from her sister - who must be drunk texting on her new phone. Their meeting puts May in danger so Ozzy steps in to protect her and eventually gives her a job at his security company, in surveillance since she's a photographer. May begins working with Ozzy's team - getting trained as well as acquainted with them, while they're trying to locate and determine the threat level of the person who might be after May. There is a complication though - May and Ozzy are attracted to one another.

The story spends a lot of time doing a lot of build up - so much telling rather than showing. Teaching May the skills she'll need for her new job, May talking to and spending time with her sister and her sister's kids, May making friends with everyone - even the romance takes forever. Now I like a slow-build romance but this was ridiculous. (Nothing happens til ~chapter 44 of 52 chapters!) May is 29 and seems very naive and acts immaturely, although she can use a taser and a single stick advantageously. Her use of silly words and phrases drove me batty - "I've got to stop being such a weiner!" And despite the fact that there's a big cast of characters and we do spend quite a bit of time with them, we don't get to know them all that well. I like Ozzy and May's sister, Jenny, but I felt like I didn't really connect with anyone that well. 

Okay, that's a lot of bashing. And there were parts I liked. I liked May's relationship with her sister. They were very close and very supportive of one another. There were moments of laugh-out-loud humor, like when May first uses her taser on a member of Ozzy's team. I liked May's and Ozzy's dogs, Felix - a chihuahua mix, and Sahara - a large mix-breed. I liked Ozzy. He seems somewhat socially awkward - he doesn't really know how to talk to May at first. He's very protective and loyal and once he gets comfortable around May, he's pretty funny. I think I'd like the rest of the cast as well if I'd gotten more details about them.

As for the narrator, I didn't mind her voice per se, but she didn't have much range. She didn't do the voices of the different characters that well, and there were quite a few. She also didn't read with enough inflection to move the story along or evoke the necessary emotions from a scene.

I do wonder if I'd have enjoyed this more if I'd read it. I'm not sure. It got so many great reviews though - so I'm thinking this is a case of 'it's me, not the book'. At any rate, I do have another novel from Ms. Casey - which I'll *read*, and then let y'all know my consensus on her writing (my opinion anyway). But Wrong Number, Right Guy wasn't for me.

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge ~ January Update

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 January

Blogging Goals

  • I've been good at keeping up with commenting back, and I've been enjoying the chats. :)
  • I've linked ____ for my challenges
  • I've learned NOTHING towards my goal
Reading Goals

  • I've posted 2 reviews to Netgalley. Woohoo!
  • I read Listening for Luka off my Kids' Recs List. :D
Personal Goals
  • So far, I've done fairly well with sticking to my daily schedule. It's tough some days because I don't get everything done in the allotted time slot, but if I have time, I go back to that task later in the day. I have made the time for exercise every day and that makes a big difference for my mental health. ;) I've not spent as much time with my writing as I'd like though. So, it's still a work in progress but I'm working on it. :D

Bookish Bingo w/Chapter Break ~ January


The ladies at Chapter Break are hosting this fun feature where we get to play Book Bingo every month. For full details, click the banner above, but basically, you download a new Bingo card every month and mark off spaces as you read books with those elements. The same book can be used for multiple elements. At the end of each month, you can link a post or post a photo of your Bingo card in the comments for Chapter Break's post. 

If this sounds like fun to you, join in next month! The Bingo card for February will be available at Chapter Break on February 2.

Here's how I did this month:

I didn't have time to figure out how to do my card electronically. Maybe next month. But I did pretty well for January, if I do say so myself! ;)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Review ~ Interlude ~ Anna Cruise

InterludeInterlude by Anna Cruise
Release Date: October 18, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #COYER B2B

Nash Williamson doesn't like complications.

He has it good - a job running lights for the local party scene, a sweet, rent-free place to live, and a semi-serious girlfriend who doesn't give him too much trouble.

Life is pretty perfect. Easy. Just the way he likes it.

But after an unexpected romantic interlude with a beautiful redhead, his life gets a whole lot more complicated.

Drug dealers. Police. An encrypted flash drive. A woman who needs his help.

Suddenly, Nash's world is a series of complications - earth-shattering, life-threatening ones.

And his pretty perfect life will never be the same again.

Interlude was my first Anna Cruise novel. It certainly won't be my last. Obviously, there was something about the synopsis that drew me in, but by the time I started it, I had no idea what I was about to read. And in a way, that made the experience better.

Nash is living a fairly carefree life. His house is paid for, he has his own business, and he has a steady girlfriend - most of the time. He recently gave his roommate the boot. Little did he know that would be a catalyst in changes to his life he never could have imagined - starting with a gorgeous girl showing up at this house in the middle of the night.

Lydia's appearance changes everything for Nash. She needs his help and asks for a lot of trust from him. It seems at every corner she has him wondering if that trust was misplaced. She has him re-evaluating his safety, who he can trust, and her sanity. Along the way, he meets Lydia's sister, Claire, and is pulled that much deeper into something he'd never have chosen to be a part of.

Interlude was quite the suspenseful story. There was mystery, a little conspiracy, action, and the smallest amount of romance. In fact, I almost felt the romance - at least the few steamy scenes - were unnecessary. Although they did move the plot forward. Nash, Lydia, and Claire's story was scary and sad, and it's not over. Ms. Cruise impressed me with this story. Her writing is fluid and she did well building the suspense. I was fully invested in these characters - biting my nails wondering what was going to happen to them, worrying at their decisions. I'm eager to know what comes next. While I wait, I'll unearth the few Cruise novels I already own and give them a go!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

That's What HE Said #50 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #30

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:

Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan

I'm kinda bending the rules this week with my quote. See, Roe and Travis, they're more men of action rather than men of words. But their actions spoke volumes, so I'm sharing that.


"But the circlet with the brand he gave back to me. He put it around my neck and told me it was to remind me I belonged at Nowhere Ranch and Nowhere belonged to me. Which I knew was his way of saying he belonged to me."


When Roe came to Nowhere Ranch, he only had a hotplate and a mini-fridge in his little apartment. As he got closer to Travis, he was able to flex his culinary muscle in Travis' kitchen. And the meals he made did great things for them both. :)

"I cooked for him quite a bit. First the roast, and then I did some pork chops and some steak. I found out the way to Travis's heart was a casserole. Scalloped potatoes about had the man coming in his pants. He was a real pleasure to fee, I'll tell you. Soon I was cooking for him every night."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review ~ Off Sides ~ Sawyer Bennett

Off Sides (Off, #1)Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett
Off Series #1
Release Date: February 21, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased my own copy.
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #COYER B2B, #2016HW, #ShelfLove

"I'm not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed someone... something... to derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost... a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved..."

Ryan Burnham is the privileged son of a U.S. Congressman and captain of his university's hockey team. While he is on the verge of fulfilling his dreams to play in the NHL, his parents want him on a different course. One he is expected to accept for the sake of his family's public image.

Forced to abandon her music career after the heart breaking death of her parents, Danny Cross exists on the opposite side of the tracks from Ryan. She is struggling to make her own way, working two jobs, attending college part time and volunteering in a homeless shelter. She is on a mission to build her own success.

With a chance meeting, their vastly different worlds collide, causing each to evaluate whether they are truly on the correct path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Can their relationship survive? Particularly when others are against them every step of the way. A lot can happen in just ten short days...

I actually received an eARC of this but I took so long to read it, my guilt induced me to one-click it - lucky for me it was 99 pennies when I did. ;)

Off Sides was my introduction to Bennett's work, although she comes highly recommended. (*wink*Lexxie*wink*) This is also Bennett's debut and she, of course, has quite the body of work at this point. So, I'm going to give you a list of what I liked and what I liked less about Off Sides

Since I like bad news first, here's what I liked less:

  • It's NA - therefore both MCs suffered tragic upbringings in some way.
  • It was a bit predictable
  • I wanted more - there was a rushed feeling that would have been negated, in my opinion, if the story had been longer.
  • Insta-love
What I liked:
  • Compelling characters - I really liked Danny's and Ryan's desire to live life by their own rules. They're both intelligent and admirable in their own ways.
  • Riveting story - despite it being predictable with those common NA elements, I was still eager to know what came next, would things work out?
  • Bennett's writing style - it's inherently readable. It flows smoothly and is nicely paced - very easy to read.
  • Dual POV - I'm finding more and more love for this narration style. Getting the POV of both MCs added so much depth to the story and I felt more connected with them both.
All in all, I was impressed with Off Sides. I can see Bennett hitting her stride in her writing and I'm eager to read more from her backlist - meet more engaging characters, learn all about their lives, and fall in love right along with them.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Early Review ~ Getting Rough ~ C.L. Parker

Getting Rough (Monkey Business Trio, #2)Getting Rough by C.L. Parker
Monkey Business Trio #2
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER B2B, New Release 2016, Blogger Shame

Hotshot San Diego sports agent Shaw Matthews and his sexy professional adversary Cassidy Whalen have gone head-to-heard in the boardroom--and the bedroom. Now Shaw has scored a big promotion--but only because Cassidy turned it down and ran off. There are many things he wants when it comes to Cassidy--just not her pity. So Shaw rushes to a small town in Maine to retrieve his dignity--and maybe the woman he's hungry to claim once more.

Cassidy has pushed herself to the max to realize her career dreams--until a family crisis brings her home. But Shaw isn't letting Cassidy go that easily. Neither is gorgeous heartthrob Casey Michaels, the childhood sweetheart she left behind--and who now wants to win her back. As the rivalry between the two alpha males intensifies, and Shaw's seductive moves reach a whole new level of heat, Cassidy has to make a choice. And this time, it's for the highest stakes of all.

Getting Rough picks up where Playing Dirty left off and although there wasn't quite as much contention between Cassidy and Shaw in this installment, it was still a good read.

Cassidy has gone home to Maine to take care of things following her mother's accident. And boy is she surprised when she finds Shaw at the bed-and-breakfast where she grew up. Shaw, for this part, has come across the country so he can give Cassidy a piece of his mind over how things ended in their contest to win a highly sought after football star. Yeah Shaw, you keep telling yourself that. Things between Cassidy and Shaw are still not but Cassidy being home means they have to deal with her ex...Casey. That led to some fun testosterone-filled scenes.

One of the reasons I liked Playing Dirty was that the competitive natures of both Cassidy and Shaw fueled their contentious behavior toward one another but underneath that, I could see the respect and attraction. Thin line between love and hate, and all that... In Getting Rough, Cassidy and Shaw, spending time away from work and the city, and being with family and close friends makes them very introspective. They each learn a lot about themselves and each other. And it has them thinking about where the feelings they're discovering are going.

Getting Rough has a more serious undertone but there is still a lot of humor as well. I missed Cassidy and Shaw's friends from San Diego but enjoyed meeting Cassidy's parents, and Casey and his parents, as well as Mia, a guest at the bed-and-breakfast. There were a few instances of worry over things and I also felt there were a few plot threads with resolutions reached too easily. But overall, I'm still hooked on this series and look forward to reading Coming Clean.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Review ~ Rule ~ Jay Crownover

Rule (Marked Men, #1)Rule by Jay Crownover
Marked Men #1
Release Date: December 20, 2012
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER B2B, #2016HW, #ShelfLove

Opposites in every way...except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn't want--and the only person she's never tried to please. She isn't afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wold attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won't listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess--and his dead twin brother's girl. She lives by other people's rules; he makes his own. He doesn't have tie for a good girl like Shaw-even if she's the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love...or each other.

Jay Crownover has been on my *must read* list for quite awhile. After having met her at two different book events, she moved ahead in my queue because she's funny as hell and she lives here in Colorado. Finally...finally, I read Rule, the first in Crownover's Marked Men series, and I found she really knows how to deliver a story.

Rule revolves around two damaged, flawed characters, Rule and Shaw. Rule has spent his whole life blazing his own path, while Shaw always did what she was told and was always found lacking. The only solace and love Shaw ever felt was with Rule's family. Shaw's been in love with Rule since she met him and Rule's been loving every girl he could.

I liked how Crownover brought these two together - both originally and in the present. They each carry around so much baggage it's amazing they can walk. When they're together, sparks usually fly and not always int he good way - at least initially. The dynamic between them was...interesting. At first, Shaw is just trying to keep his family togehter. Then - and I suppose it'd always been this way - she was trying to prove to Rule that he was worthy of love. Eventually, Rule made a mission of showing Shaw she was enough just as she was. And it wasn't always pretty but it was lovely to see.

So this is New Adult - so the usual elements are present. However, I liked what Crownover brought to the table with this story. It was unique and had an added element of danger and suspense. Both Rule and Shaw showed a lot of emotional growth and that was fantastic. Crownover also introduced an incredible cast of supporting characters, all of whom get their own books in this series. I can't wait!

I was very impressed with Crownover's debut. She wrote a story I was loathe to put down and showed a lot of promise. I'm looking forward to reading more from her backlist.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

That's What HE Said #49 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #29

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:

Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley

I recently re-read Indy & Lee's story ~ and fell for them all over again!


"I'm not gettin' off, not goin' away, not playin' anymore games or wastin' anymore fuckin' time. I don't believe in fate or destiny or any of that bullshit. What I know is that, as far as I can tell, there isn't another woman I've met who fits my life. Who doesn't care if I get home late after she's made a special dinner. Who doesn't have a hemorrhage when I talk about one of my men gettin' shot, goin' off about how she feels about my work. You got up and made everyone coffee, for fuck's sake. You're a woman who tells me to be careful when I tell her I'm out hunting humans instead of bitchin' and wantin' to process how my career choice makes her feel. If an employee walked into their kitchen with a gun and shot at their neighbor, most people would lose their fucking minds. You spent the morning makin' brownies and the afternoon sleepin' in the sun. You live hard, play hard and don't seem to be scared of anything, but manage to keep a softness about you that's almost unreal. You wanted me to tell you why I'm sure about you, that's why I'm sure.


"Everyone makes coffee, twerp. I make coffee. Jeez-us. Why the big deal about coffee?" Tex declared and lumbered to the espresso machine as if the air wasn't think enough with tension. He pushed himself behind the counter. "What'll it be? I'll make everybody coffee."
"Indy, are you gonna try my coffee or what?" Tex called.
I disengaged from Lee and walked on shaky legs to the counter. I took the cup from Tex and before I even took a drink, I stopped and lifted my eyes to look at the big, crazy man.
I could smell it and it smelled good.
I tasted it.
"Tex," I whispered, "this is the nectar of the gods."
"I told you anyone could make coffee," Tex replied.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brandee's Bookish Babble #12 ~ Even if I Squint...

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!


Is it just me or has the print in a mass market sized paperback gotten smaller?!? Oh. It is me. Sort of.

When I began my series catchup in the Kate Daniels series, I had a little trouble. It was rough staying with it, to be honest. Not because the story was bad. NO! The Andrews's delivered all the increased pulse-inducing action and drama I love about Kate & Curran. No, my problem was that I was reading a mass market paperback. It's been awhile. And apparently I now have issues - optical issues - with this format. "But Brandee, don't you wear reading glasses?" Why yes, yes I do. But here's what I determined. 

See, I was thinking it was just me. Then I remembered that I'd recently read another book in mass market size and I didn't have the same issues. So I did some reconnaissance work and what I found was that the Andrews' book was printed on paper that was a bit darker and with the font size, I really strained to read it. The other book I read was printed on a brighter paper and the contrast between the font and the paper was easier on my eyes. I found it easier to read Kate & Curran with a headlamp on since it gave me that sharper vision - provided me with a crisper font - but I can't wear that in public. ;) Well, I could but I'd be give *those* looks. o_O   And while this is all good information to know, it made me sad. Y'all should see the collection of mass market paperbacks on my TBR shelves. Guess I'll be breaking out a headlamp (when bright light isn't available) - those side-eyed looks be damned!

So I was curious...Do y'all have any issues and/or preferences when it comes to mass market paperbacks? Are my eyes just old???

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review ~ Playing Dirty ~ C.L. Parker

Playing Dirty (Monkey Business Trio, #1)Playing Dirty by C.L. Parker
Monkey Business Trio #1
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review

Challenges: COYER 2015, #ShelfLove 2015
Rating: 4 Bookworms

Shaw Matthews plays to win, and he intends to snag a coveted partnership at San Diego's hottest spots agency by signing America's top athlete. Only one woman stands in his way: rival agent Cassidy Whalen. But eliminating the competition will be Shaw's pleasure when he concocts an ingenious plan to seduce Cassidy and show the beautiful ballbreaker who's the better man for the job. That is, until Cassidy turns the tables--and their steamy encounters start breaking all the rules.

Cassidy has worked hard to make it in a man's cutthroat arena, and she isn't going down without a fight, not even against the six-two alpha hunk whose rock-hard body awakens desires she's never known before. As Cassidy shares night after night of unending passion with Shaw, the game begins to change. Now Cassidy stands to lose everything--unless a fiery contest of wills can become a winning proposition for two people who keep raising the stakes.

Playing Dirty is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

I'm always down with a enemies-to-lovers story and Playing Dirty is a good one. I quite enjoyed the underlying message of the power of perception and who our preconceived notions can so negatively influence our opinions. I also thought it was fun to watch as Cassidy and Shaw got down to playing dirty.

Cassidy grew up in a small fishing town where everyone works hard. It's no surprise that she puts those lessons to good use in her job as an entertainment agent. Cassie is organized, put-together, always prepared kinda girl. She's worked hard to get where she is and is looking to make junior partner in her agency. There's only one road block - Shaw Matthews.

Shaw had a much more unconventional upbringing. It's made him who he is and he's worked hard to become the man he is. He's dedicated, tenacious, and willing to go that extra mile to land a deal. He's also looking to become partner in his agency and the higher-ups have seem fit to pit him against his nemesis, Cassie, to make that happen. And he'll do whatever it takes to beat her.

I have to admit to having an uh-oh moment at the beginning of the book. A moment where I was thinking What?? But I was very satisfied with the direction things were actually taking. Once Cassie and Shaw went to battle, as it were, over landing a football player for their agency, we got to see what they were made of. I think what I liked most about watching Cassie and Shaw play dirty is how much they learned about themselves as they got to know more about each other. They were forced to let go of some of the preconceived ideas about who the other was - particularly Cassie. We learned more about Shaw than Cassie, but I'm assuming we'll learn much more about her in the next installment.

Besides Cassie and Shaw, I also fell in love with the supporting characters. So much so that I was anticipating the subsequent installments to focus on them. But the ending proved that at least the next in the series will once again be about Cassie and Shaw.

The antagonism between these two took a little while to understand but I did enjoy the light show as the sparks flew. Playing Dirty, although it stuttered out of the gate for me, ended up being a fun read and I'm really anxious to see what happens next.

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Release Reviews ~ Find Me, Remember Me, Keep Me ~ Michelle Mankin

Woohoo! They're live! I just love this series y'all!
Below you'll find all the details for the series, my reviews, and a giveaway!

finding me three part sereis.png
Find Me, Remember Me, and Keep Me by Michelle Mankin
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received complimentary copies in exchange for an honest review. I then purchased my own copies.
Rating: 4.5, 5, 5 Bookworms
**Find Me, Remember Me, and Keep Me is a full and complete novel in three separate parts. A standalone Tempest spin-off.**
Almost forty-one-year-old Annabelle Morris, wife to multi-billionaire record label executive Charles Morris of Zenith Productions, and mother of two is at a crossroads in her life.
Separated from her husband after walking in on him having sex in the public restroom of a charity event she was hosting, she has arrived on the island of St. John alone and rejected, determined to re-evaluate her life and her marriage. She's tired of being her husband’s showpiece while he pretends she doesn't exist. She's tired of trying to make their marriage work for the sake of their two teenage boys.

When she meets Johnny Lightning, a sexy but mysterious piano-playing, bearded sailor, she is tempted to break vows she has never before broken. But Johnny is much younger than her and seems to be hiding more than a few secrets of his own.
From the laid-back sandy beaches of the Caribbean to the elite circles of Dallas high society, Annabelle is forced to make critical choices.

Is a chance for happiness worth the risk of giving up the life she has always known? Worth jeopardizing her own and possibly even her children's future? In the end, will she stay on her present course or brave a new and uncharted one?

Find Me
I had the pleasure of beta reading this series and I'm so excited about Anna & Johnny's introduction to the world. I hope y'all love them as much as I do.

Anna - a wounded soul, a broken heart, when she comes to St. John in order to make some decisions about her life. She's been separated from her philandering husband for a year. It's time for her to find her way...find herself again.

Johnny - a wounded soul, a man who isolates himself as well as his heart, is back in St. John. He's working at finding his way after his life didn't follow the path he was expecting.

He found her - the real her. She found him. Have they found what they were looking for? Have they found more than they anticipated?

I was immediately drawn to Anna and Johnny. I could feel the hurt they both felt - their lack of confidence in themselves and their lack of trust in others. That they both ended up in the same place at the same time seems serendipitous. The pull between them was palpable, but I enjoyed the ease there was between them and how they got to know one another.

Some things are revealed causing a misunderstanding though, and Anna's husband appears as well. This first installment ends in confusion and indecision.

Remember Me
Remember Me allows us to become better acquainted with Anna. We meet her boys, her family, and her best friend, Claire. And we bear witness to the interactions between Anna and Charles as he attempts to worm (slither?) his way back into her life.

This installment cemented Anna's character for me. She's kind, generous, and compassionate. The interactions with her family and friends were genuine. And it made me all the more certain she deserves more out of life than Charles.

Then Johnny appears once again. Can they remember who they were together back on the island?

Keep Me
With Johnny's reappearance, he and Anna realize that in each other's arms is where they belong. However, Charles isn't going down without a fight and his machinations and a surprise threaten Anna and Johnny's tenuous happiness.

What I loved most about Keep Me was getting to know Anna's family better as well as getting more of Johnny's history. We even get a few chapters from his POV. All this combined to fully flesh out Anna and Johnny as characters - rounded them out. And really made me believe in them.

What I took away from their story:

  • The titles could be more apropos for the characters and their story. I delighted in Mankin continuing her tradition of defining pertinent terms at the beginning of the book as well.
  • Mankin deftly conveyed a real story - the characters are relatable and their situations realistic.
  • Mankin's use of metaphor brilliantly paints pictures of scenery as well as emotions.
  • Seeing Anna blossom into a emotionally stronger and confident woman was a beautiful thing.

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michelle mankin.jpgMichelle Mankin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Records series of novels. Rock Stars. Romance. Redemption.
Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a BRUTAL STRENGTH centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock 'n roll industry.
Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the TEMPEST series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there.
Rock stars, myths, and legends collide with paranormal romance in a totally mesmerizing way in the MAGIC series.
Catch the perfect wave with irresistible surfers in the ROCK STARS, SURF AND SECOND CHANCES series.
Romance and self-discovery, the FINDING ME series is a Tempest spin off with a more experienced but familiar cast of characters.