Sunday, December 31, 2017

Favorites of 2017 ~ Books & Audiobooks

I enjoyed doing a "look back at the year" in 2016 so I figured it'd once again be fun to bring 2017 to a close by listing some of favorites. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorites and I'd be happy to hear about any of yours!

*~*Books & Audiobooks*~*
  • How the Duke Was Won - I chose this book solely because it was narrated by Beverley A. Crick but I found a new favorite author in Lenora Bell
  • The Nightingale - a powerful read about how war affected women during WWII from Kristin Hannah
  • Red Rising - so realistic in nature and well written, so many parallels to our world today
  • Rock F*ck Club - a female anthem, if you will, for equality - especially in our sexuality
  • Outlander - omigosh! I adore Jamie and Claire!
  • And I Darken - I'm only waiting til 2018 to read the next installment - and honestly, I'm so anxious over it - because the final installment releases in June of 2018. Sometimes I hate the wait.
  • Texas Rodeo series - an incredible series revolving around small town West Texas and the rodeo circuit - great writing and narration (Kari Lynn Dell & Johanna Parker)
  • New Camelot Trilogy - I listened to the first two - excellent narration - and read the final installment because I was too anxious to wait for the audio! I adored this trilogy!
  • The Angel - such a unique story and so very well conveyed
  • Steal the Light - it's making the list because IT. HAS. IT. ALL!
Honestly, this list was hard to compile. I mean, I read 160 books this year so it's hard to narrow it down to ~10. In the end, I realized it was just a good reading year. *grins*

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My TBR List Review ~ December ~ Reapers Legacy ~ Joanna Wylde #MyTBRList #ShelfLove


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading

Reaper's Legacy (Reapers MC, #2)
Reaper's Legacy by Joanna Wylde
Reaper's Motorcycle Club #2
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, MC Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #MyTBRList, #ShelfLove

Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart - and her virginity - to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn't have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach's step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he's never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious - her son, Noah. Unfortunately, Zach's a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah's only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands - with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club - to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn't Sophie's plan for her son, but Ruger isn't giving her a choice. He'll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she'll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way...

I read the first two chapters of Reapers Legacy before it released and I was so upset I couldn't immediately go to buy it and finish it. Yep, it was that good. So it's hard to believe I've had it since right after its release without reading it. The good news? It was worth the wait. *grins*

Reapers Legacy made me think about things like family and loyalty. It incorporated elements I love about the MC genre like the brotherhood of the club and the dynamics between the guys and their women...and children. And where Reapers Property, the first book in the series, had more humor, violence, and grittiness, Reapers Legacy had more emotion. All this made for a satisfying read.

Sophie, bless her heart...she got pregnant at 17. Her family disowned her for wanting to keep the baby and her baby daddy - well, he was far from being a decent human being so he certainly wasn't into being a dad. The only person who's been there for her throughout is Ruger - baby daddy's step brother. Sophie's done an excellent job as a mom to Noah, always putting him first. But in a moment of desperation, Noah is endangered and Ruger comes to the rescue.

Ruger's never understood how his step-brother scored Sophie or what she could have possibly seen in Zack. He's done all in his power to protect and provide for her and Noah. When he finds the condition they're living in he resolves to move them in with him where he can ensure their safety and maybe, their happiness. Naturally though, Sophie took exception to Ruger making decisions for her despite her knowing it was needed. This led to some saucy interactions between her and Ruger.

The chemistry between Sophie and Ruger is explosive. It's a wonder it hadn't combusted sooner - burning them both. But Noah was always their first concern. Watching them try to navigate figuring out how they can get what they each want - and getting to where that's the same thing - without negatively affecting Noah was impressive. And then there was the danger posed by a rival club - something Sophie vehemently did not want touching her or her son. 

Reapers Legacy, of course, has a large supporting cast since the story revolves around a motorcycle club. Wylde brilliantly weaves these characters in, adding depth to the story as well as ensuring I continue the series *wink* because I must know everyone's story.

Reapers Legacy was an awesome read and I'm eager to move ahead in this series.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Favorites of 2017 ~ Couples

I enjoyed doing a "look back at the year" in 2016 so I figured it'd once again be fun to bring 2017 to a close by listing some of favorites. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorites and I'd be happy to hear about any of yours!

  • Eva and Gideon - watching them fall for one another and learn to be strong enough in themselves to build a relationship strong enough to last was a wonder.
  • Silver and Logan - I've so enjoyed watching as Logan courts Silver. They're each growing so much even while enduring so much. It's been a challenge but it's great to see them together.
  • Greer, Embry, and Ash - okay, I realize it's a trio rather than a couple but still...they were a pleasure to get to know and to watch change, mature, and fall in love.
  • Nora and Soren - this couple is making the list two years in a row! Their's is an unconventional relationship if ever there was one and yet I still adore them
  • Charles and Anna - their bond keeps getting stronger and stronger 
  • Will and Layken - I really enjoyed reliving all their best and worst memories along with them. These two are just meant to be together!
  • Tate and Logan - their love is swoon-worthy, y'all!
  • Lily and Lo - these two broke my heart and put it back together again. They're each so broken and yet still perfect together. No, they don't fix each other - their love just makes them want to be better for the other. *sigh*
  • Violet and Jennings - this couple made me laugh out loud all the while rooting for them to end up together!
  • Jamie and Claire - I felt so much for these two! They're amazing individuals and as a couple? I'm not sure I've ever rooted for an historical couple more.
  • Tabby and Shy, Lanie and Hopper, Joker and Carissa, High and Millie, Brock and Tessa, Hawk and Gwen, Tack and Tyra, and Mara and Mitch (I know it's cheating, right?)
Can you guess which books these couples starred in?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Favorites of 2017 ~ Worlds/Settings

I enjoyed doing a "look back at the year" in 2016 so I figured it'd once again be fun to bring 2017 to a close by listing some of favorites. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorites and I'd be happy to hear about any of yours!

  • Cognito - I'm finishing up the year in Cognito. I've enjoyed spending time there with Silver and all her friends. And Dannika Dark does a fine job of creating the "look and feel" of snowy, cold weather.
  • Denver, Colorado - the setting for Kristen Ashley's Chaos series and Dream Man series is brought to life in the stories...and I enjoyed spending time here, so near home, all over again.
  • Denton, Texas - this is where the Thieves series is set and it's perfect! Having lived in North Texas for 4 years prior to moving to Colorado, Blake nails the feel.
  • Chicago, Illinois - I've spent quite a bit of time in Chicago this year - mostly fictionally but also in real life. Helena Hunting's Clipped Wings series is set here and I liked how she brought to life the area around Northwestern to life. I also spent time in Chicago with Ella Frank's Temptation series and Jennifer Dawson's Undone series.
  • West Texas (Amarillo, Dumas, Ernest) - Having spent about half my life, before getting married, in West Texas, I quite enjoyed spending time there with the characters of Kari Lynn Dell's Texas Rodeo series.
  • New York City - I binged on Sylvia Day's Crossfire series in November and December, and she brought to life the hustle and bustle of the city through Eva's eyes. Having visited Manhattan before, it was fun reminiscing. Lara Adrian's For 100 Days and For 100 Nights is also set in NYC. She brought an entirely different scene to life in the trilogy.
  • Rome - Rome is not a location I'd ever hoped to visit...until I read J.T. Geissinger's Edge of Oblivion. Her description of the city as well as the underground city, the historical buildings and ruins, the art, the food, the mythology...yeah, Rome went on my bucket list.
  • Scotland - although I like to think I'd have liked to live during the time of Highlanders - and maybe I would - Gabaldon created a Scotland the felt very realistic in it's harsh beauty...very realistic. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Favorites of 2017 ~ New-to-Me Authors

I enjoyed doing a "look back at the year" in 2016 so I figured it'd once again be fun to bring 2017 to a close by listing some of favorites. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorites and I'd be happy to hear about any of yours!

*~*New-to-Me Authors*~*
  • Sierra Simone - I blew through her New Camelot trilogy - in both audio and ebook. I'm a fan and am eager to read more from her!
  • Juliette Cross - I'm so happy I agreed to review The White Lily as Cross made a new fan in me with her fairytale mixed with vampires tale.
  • Kari Lynn Dell - I can't say enough about how much I love her writing as well as her ability to make life in West Texas as well as rodeo so vivid and authentic! (thanks, Anna!)
  • Lexi Blake - meeting Zoey and company from Blake's Thieves series was a highlight for me in 2017! (thanks, Kristen!)
  • Heather Demetrios - she delivered a YA so gripping and emotionally moving...a treat despite the difficult subject matter. (thanks, Tanya!)
  • Kiersten White - OMG! I still can't believe I put off reading this one - a female incarnation of Vlad the Impaler...need I say more?!? If y'all haven't read And I Darken, make it so!
  • Helena Hunting - I binged on her Clipped Wings series back in June for a challenge...the lady can write!
  • Georgia Cates - another author I can't believe I put off reading for so long. I'll be finishing her Beauty series in 2017.
  • T. Torrest - Remember When dazzled me with it's 90's nostalgia and characters I fell for...hard. I'm looking forward to the spinoff series coming in 2018. 
  • Diana Gabaldon - 'nuff said, am I right?
  • Pierce Brown - I couldn't imagine how blown away I'd be by Red Rising despite how much my friends gushed about it. I have the next two books already laid out. *wink*
  • Lenora Bell - I picked up How the Duke Was Won because the narrator is one I adore. However, I ended up a fan of Bell who delivered a tightly woven story with a feisty heroine and a hero to fall for.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Favorites of 2017 ~ Narrators

I enjoyed doing a "look back at the year" in 2016 so I figured it'd once again be fun to bring 2017 to a close by listing some of favorites. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorites and I'd be happy to hear about any of yours!

  • Beverley A. Crick - she's become a favorite of mine for historical romance because she creates an aural dramatic presentation with her delivery and accents!
  • Andi Arndt - I became a huge fan when I first listened to Kylie Scott's Stage Dive series - which Andi narrates. This year she made an impression in Playboy Pilot
  • Johanna Parker - even though she struggled a bit in the third book in a series I've been enjoying, she's still done a tremendous job giving life to a range of characters as well as life in West Texas and the rodeo
  • Shaun Grindell - I first listened to him last year and wasn't sold on his narration. But after listening to him again this year in books such as Smut and The Summer Games: Settling the Score, I'm a fan
  • Heather Wilds - I've only listened to her twice but I quite enjoy her delivery and she brought the characters in Until Harry to life
  • Dave Gillies - I was certain I'd enjoy an historical narrated by a man but he made me a believer in Highland Spy.
  • Sebastian York - I'm pretty sure if I listen to him, he's gonna make this list! *wink*
  • Roger Wayne - he impressed me in both a contemporary and a paranormal

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Review ~ Chasing Red ~ Isabelle Ronin #2017NewRelease

Chasing Red (Red, #1)Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin
Red #1
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received this book from Sourcebooks via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 2.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease

They said she was going to be my ruin...
Then let her ruin me.

Caleb Lockhart has everything - wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until a chance encounter with a siren in a red dress changes everything. Until he meets the woman he dubs Red.

Veronica Strafford's past makes it hard for her to trust anyone. Now, kicked out of her apartment, she reluctantly accepts Caleb's offer for a place to stay.

Caleb feels intensely drawn to Veronica. And, for the first time in his life, he really wants something - someone. Too bad Veronica's heart might just be the one thing Caleb can't win.

I want to preface my review by saying this is my opinion. There are many readers who have enjoyed Chasing Red so if you're interested don't let my opinion dissuade you from checking it out. The story just didn't work for me. Here's my opinion of what sort of worked and what could have worked better:
  • Premise
    The premise was intriguing. I mean, it drew my attention and made me want to read the book. However, the execution was lacking. The story was uneven and I was often bored. 
  • Characters
    The characters were underdeveloped but did have their moments. Seeing Veronica with her girlfriends, Beth and Kara - who were both a hoot -  and Caleb with his friend Cameron and even with his longtime girl friend - whose name escapes me. Hmm... These interactions enabled me to learn a little bit about who Veronica and Caleb were, something that didn't happen when they were together. Despite sort of liking the characters, I felt they were mostly one-dimensional. There wasn't any real character development so I never felt a connection to them, which makes it difficult to engage with their story.
  • Tension & Climax
    The last quarter or so of the story might have been the most exciting. The "villain" was rather evil-minded and I liked the tension she created. But it was silly and melodramatic reasons behind that tension.
Maybe it was just my mood but Chasing Red was an uneven read for me. I didn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping I would. I'm not sure I'll read the next installment since I'm not really invested in the characters enough to care what comes next.

If you've read Chasing Red or if you end up reading it, I'd love to discuss your thoughts. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #72 ~ One with You ~ Sylvia Day

This week's quote comes from One with You by Sylvia Day. I think the scene, from Gideon's POV, is sweet and shows where he and Eva are at this point in their relationship. It also helped me decide on one dinner item for my week! ;)

She'd set us up to eat at the island, putting Chris and me on the side with bar stools, while she stood opposite us and ate standing up. She was so casual and relaxed, as was the atmosphere she'd created.
Three pillar candles fragranced the air with something citrusy and spicy. Dinner was a seared steak salad, with Gorgonzola, sliced red onions, red and yellow sweet peppers, and a tangy vinaigrette. Crispy bread soaked in garlic butter stayed warm in a napkin-lined basket, while a decanted bottle of red wine waited to fill stemless glasses.
I watched her as she swayed to the music while she ate and chatted with Chris about the Outer Banks beach house. I remembered for a moment how the penthouse had been before she'd started moving in. It was where I lived, but I couldn't say it was home. On some level, I must have known she was coming when I bought the place. It waited for her, as I had, needing her to bring life into it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Audio Review ~ Tangled in Texas ~ Kari Lynn Dell #AudioChallenge #2017NewRelease

Tangled in TexasTangled in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell
Texas Rodeo #2
Narrated byJohanna Parker
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #AudioChallenge

Thirty-two seconds. That's how long it took for Delon Sanchez's life to end. One minute he was the best bronc rider in the Panhandle and the next he was nothing. Knee shattered, future in question, all he can do is pull together the pieces...and wonder what cruel trick of fate has thrown him into the path of his ex, the oh-so-perfect Tori Patterson. Tori's come home after her husband's death, intent on escaping the public eye. It's just her luck that Delon limps into her physical therapy office, desperate for help. All hard-packed muscle and dark-eyed temptation, he's never been anything but a bad idea. And yet, seeing him again, Tori can't remember what made her choose foolish pride over love..or why, with this second, final change to right old wrongs, the smartest choice would be to run from this gorgeous rodeo boy as fast as her boots can take her.
Contains mature themes.

This second installment was even more riveting than the first. Hoo boy but I'm enjoying the heck out of this series!

Delon is out of commission for bareback riding due to the accident suffered in Reckless in Texas. He's been assigned a new physical therapist and the person it turns out to be is a shocker. But she just might be the one to fix his knee...and his life.

Tori is back in the Panhandle working hard and trying to keep a low profile. Thanks to her parents and the man she married, it's not going to be easy. And then Delon Sanchez blows back into her life but the wind is a tad bitter.

These two have history...A history that is passionate but maybe a little poisonous. It was ironic that they both understood what it's like to be seen as something you're not, be expected to act a certain way, understand this and yet fulfill those expectations at the same time as chafing under them. They were perfect for one another and yet didn't see it. They also both wanted the same things out of life - things they'd always been denied.

The road back together was full of potholes but I still enjoyed the ride. I liked that Dell continually set up road blocks for them because it gave them both time to see things in themselves - things to alter or accept - which made them stronger as individuals which in turn strengthened their relationship.

Dell continues to wow me with her ability to convey the culture of West Texas as well as depict rodeo so clearly, I can "see" it all. I adore all her characters and have already started Tougher in Texas. I'm eager to see what Cole and Shawnee's stories are.

Johanna Parker also impressed me once again She managed to keep her voices consistent across these two books and keep them distinct. She's a pleasure to listen to!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Review ~ The Farthest Edge ~ Kristen Ashley #2017NewRelease

The Farthest Edge (Honey, #2)The Farthest Edge by Kristen Ashley
Honey Series #2
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Erotic Romance, BDSM
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #COYER (summer)

Step into the Honey Club, where every sensual boundary will be tested in search of the ultimate pleasure...

Branch doesn't exist. Living off the grid, he's looking for a way to forget his past and the guilt that plagues him. But no woman has ever been able to bring him to the edge he craves.

After a traumatic experience of her own, Evangeline stepped away from the decadent world of the Honey Club. But when she gets Branch's offer - to play without boundaries or commitments - it's too tempting for her to refuse.

As their passion ignites, Evangeline and Branch push each other to their farthest limit, fulfilling their darkest desires while falling harder and deeper than they ever imagined.

I don't typically read the teaser for the next book in a series that are sometimes included at the end of a book. It's too much for me to handle knowing that little bit but having to wait. :/ But I couldn't help myself when I got to the end of The Deep End - I just *had* to know who starred in the next story. And to say I was thrilled and overly eager for The Farthest Edge once I knew would be a huge understatement.

When we met Branch Dillinger in The Deep End, I was instantly intrigued. He was an enigma - certainly dangerous if you got on the wrong side of him or a friend of his, but also loyal and seemingly...redeemable. He was someone you could tell, from the small page time he received, who'd endured and suffered...carried a lot of secrets and guilt...and he was someone I was dying to see his layers peeled back.

Evangeline Brooks was a character we were only told about. A Domme at the Honey, she had the unthinkable happen to her with her sub. Just knowing what happened and how that would affect her, I was eager to really get to know her but also to see how KA would pull her back from the edge.

Branch and Evangeline were made for each other. Oh, that's not to say anything was easy for them (although Branch might argue that with me) but their broken pieces were such that in helping each other put themselves back together, they also found connecting pieces which fit them together quite nicely. Learning of all Branch had been through made me ache for him. Evangeline, while living a good life minus the one incident, had a difficult time overcoming that one incident considering her position and the trust that was violated. Witnessing Branch and Evangeline work at mending themselves and each other was riveting.

I have to admit that The Farthest Edge was much easier to take than The Deep End. I don't know if it's because I was familiar with KA's version of the D/s lifestyle at this point or if it was because Evangeline was more relatable as a character. It might be a combination of both those things but whatever it was, I found The Farthest Edge to be a KA read that I was completely immersed in and finished in no time. I loved it!

There was no teaser for the next book, sadly. I have my top three desired candidates for the next installment but KA is keeping me guessing this time. I'm keen for the next story though.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

#COYER Winter Switch Kick-off Post ~ It Starts TODAY!!

As y'all know, #COYER is one of my favorite challenges because I just can't seem to clean off my ereaders. This winter challenge can be done the easy way or the hard way. *wink* You can click the graphic above (or here) to check out all the details. Once again, here are the basics:
  • The challenge begins December 16th at 12 a.m. EDT and ends March 9th at 11:59 p.m. EDT
  • You muts create a sign-up post anytime between now and January 20th on blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google+, etc. Be sure to indicate if you're doing regular COYER or The Switch. Link you sign-up post to the linky here.
  • You can choose to do regular COYER - which is the same as The Strict - or COYER Switch.
  • Link your reviews to the linky that will be provided on the Kick-off Post.
  • There will be three grand prize winners - $10 gift card - one for the linky review list, and two for Switch participants.

As I said in my sign-up post, I'm going for The Switch - which means I'll be dividing my challenge into The Strict, The List, and The One with the Twist. Since lists seem to be challenging for me (mood reader, anyone?) I'm hitting that one first. So starting today and until January 12, here's the list of books I'm reading:

Shine (Mageri, #5)Finding It (Losing It, #3)Epilogue (The Dark Duet, #3)Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2)Taken by Storm (Raised by Wolves, #3)Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #4)Taming Cross (Love Inc., #2)Unmaking Marchant (Love Inc., #3)The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13)Golden Son (Red Rising, #2)Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)Mr. & Mrs. (Mister, #6)Anarchy Chained (SuperAlpha, #3)Turning Back (Turning #2)His Turn (Turning, #3)Opposition (Lux, #5)My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge, #2)Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge, #3)Masters Forever (Masters Saga, #3)End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3)Past Imperfect (Perfect, #2)Shameless (White Lies Duet, #2)13 (Tallent & Lowery, #1)Accidentally on Purpose (Accidentally on Purpose, #1)Against the Wall (Maverick Montana, #1)Angelbound (Angelbound Origins #1)Angelfire (Dark Angel, #1)Archer's VoiceCaged (Caged, #1)Extreme Exposure (I-Team, #1)

Once I've finished 5 from the list, I can change up 5 the list if I'm feeling the need. We'll see...

After the first phase, I'll hit The Twist (since it's restrictive in it's own way), and finally The Strict.

I hope y'all are sufficiently tempted enough to join in the fun!! Come on, you know you wanna! *wink*

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #71 ~ Captivated by You ~ Sylvia Day

This week's quote comes from Captivated by You by Sylvia Day, and Gideon in the kitchen? Total swoon!! =)

She flashed me a dazzling smile, then opened the fridge to pull out the carton of half-and-half. While she took care of that, I plated the french toast.
She cut into her food and forked a bite to her mouth. She hummed her appreciation. "Yummy," she mumbled.
"I'm glad you like it."
"You're hot and you can cook. I'm a lucky girl."
I decided not to tell her I'd just downloaded the recipe that morning.