Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#COYER Review ~ The Red Lily ~ Juliette Cross (@Juliette__Cross)

The Red Lily (Vampire Blood, #2)The Red Lily by Juliette Cross
Vampire Blood #2
Release Date: June 19, 2017
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, Fairytale
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #TravelingtotheTerminus

When Red falls for the Big Bad Vampire...

The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close...even though keeping her close - very close - is the only thing on his mind.

Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it's the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying...not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.

I can't exactly put my finger on it - although I'm going to try - but The Red Lily had that little something that really tripped my trigger. :)

The Red Lily was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood but in my opinion was more loosely based on that fairytale than either The Black Lily or The White Lily. However, it was creative and well-written and I adored the main characters!


  • Characters
    Sienna gave up a life in society and leisure for a solitary one in Silvane Forest. She lived with her grandmother, learning to be a healer, until her grandmother died. That she leaves her solitude and security to recruit for the Black Lily says much about her character and her belief in that cause. Nikolai was a Legionnaire for the Vampire Crown but he grew up with and views Prince Marius as a brother. So it was natural he'd follow him and fight for the Black Lily. The fact he fights for the commonwealth speaks to his character because he's vampire and could've lived with the status quo. I liked seeing them come together through attempting to do what's right and noble. They're both strong, spirited, and loyal...and they fit.
  • Vampire Mythology
    JCross doesn't ever specify anything like a "true mate" but it seems her vampires have one. And in this case, Sienna was also dreaming of Nikolai - vividly - which made me believe she felt it too. We learn a bit more about the sanguine furorem - blood madness - as well as vampires in they're made, their strength, and history.
  • Action/Suspense
    I think this is where The Red Lily excelled. There ware more fighting, subterfuge, description of torture, viewing of torture, etc., in this installment. Since Nikolai was a Legionnaire, this fit with him as a character and made the story more authentic. JCross didn't shy away from conveying the gritty violence either and that was a positive. This is a war after all.
  • Other Mythology
    The Silvane Forest holds the magic of the hartstone - the stone of making - as well as the hartwolves. There was also magic in Sienna. I'm not sure where this mythology came from - if it's inspired by a different story, if there's more to Little Red than I know or if it's a product of JCross' imagination, but it added depth and complexity and helped push The Red Lily into the favorite position - so far - for this series.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Audio Review ~ The Lawrence Browne Affair ~ Cat Sebastian #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove

The Lawrence Browne Affair (The Turner Series, #2)The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian
The Turner Series #2
Narrated byGary Furlong
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance, M/M Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided. 
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove

An earl hiding from his future...Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that's what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family's crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence's new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down. 
A swindler haunted by his past...Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn't expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl. 
Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

I admit to having chosen The Lawrence Browne Affair because I was intrigued with an M/M historical romance. What a pleasant surprise this story was! 

  • Characters/Character Development
    Man! CSebastian did an impressive job of developing both Lawrence and Georgie. Lawrence inherited an Earldom. His father and older brother were known to be mad and indluged in some wickedness (and not the good kind) as part of their madness.
    Laurence has always believed he is or would go mad himself because of his sexual preferences and due to things about his behavior that his father deemed odd. Honestly, I believe Lawrence was a genius or a savant as well as autistic or maybe agoraphobic. I adored how over the course of the story Georgie was able to figure out how to handle Lawrence's "quirks" and convince him he wasn't mad and was also worthy of people's company and care.
    Georgie is a crook. A crook with a heart though and that heart has him on the run from an associate. He comes to Penkellis to determine Lawrence's mental state for some who are questioning it. Georgie at first is thinking only of himself - saving his hide - so it was a delight to watch as he proved he was redeemable.
  • Romance
    CSebastian created a compelling slow-burn romance between Lawrence and Georgie. Witnessing as they became close and came to care for one another was something I was loathe to stop listening to. As this was my first M/M historical romance, I must say I was impressed with how CSebastian crafted the story.
  • Story
    Like I said, CSebastian wove a captivating story around Lawrence and Georgie - Lawrence being an inventor of sorts and Georgie generally stealing from whomever he can - until now. There was also how they learned to deal with each others' personalities, their insecurities, and the reasons behind how they were and how they lived. It was all fascinating!
Honestly, there was so much to like about this story. And the narrator, Gary Furlong, also did an excellent job. He kept the pace just right and managed the voices for each character very well - even the female ones. I will absolutely read more CSebastian and listen to more GFurlong!

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Release Review ~ The Emerald Lily ~ Juliette Cross (@Juliette__Cross) #2018NewRelease #COYER

The Emerald Lily (Vampire Blood, #4)The Emerald Lily by Juliette Cross
Vampire Blood #4
Release Date: January 29, 2018
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, Fairytale
Source: I received an eARC from Entangled Publising via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2018NewRelease, #COYER, #TravelingtotheTerminus

When she wakes, everything will change...

When Princess Vilhelmina Dragomire is awakened from her hellish sleep with a blood kiss from a handsome stranger, she learns that much has changed while she's been away. The armies of the Black Lily and the vampire Crown have amassed and are on the brink of war.

No romantic entanglements, no family. Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard, took a vow when he joined the Bloodguard. But he never planned for the gut-punching attraction he would feel for the untouchable princess. He must keep his focus, though. In order to avenge his family, it's essential he help Mina claim her crown and keep his damn hands off of her.

But Mina sets her heart on the elusive captain, and keeping his focus on the great battle ahead becomes harder and harder. While they're making plans, the evil King Dominik has been making some of his own. This time, he will show no mercy to the Princess...

With The Emerald Lily, JCross completes an engrossing series using her own spin on four fairytales, tying them all together with an overarching plot that is both compelling and relevant despite the historical setting. And she does so with aplomb! The Emerald Lily has nail-biting suspense, gut-wrenching emotion, raw and gritty action scenes, and sigh-inducing romance. It was a spectacular ending to the series!


  • ALL the Characters
    The entire cast is present here as they gear up for the war that's been brewing - that they've orchestrated. The Emerald Lily, of course, focuses on Mina and Mikhail, but all the couples as well as secondary characters get a lot of page time and I was grateful for it as they each provide necessities for the story such as the comic relief Grant offers and the smiles little Izzy evokes. And while I'd already been introduced to Mina and Mikhail, The Emerald Lily proved they both were more than they appeared. I appreciated the character growth as we learned more about them - and they learned more about themselves and each other.
  • Twists, Suspense, and Surprises
    The Emerald Lily is fairly fast-paced and kept me flipping pages as quickly as I could. JCross managed to throw in a few twists that had me gasping and more than a few shocking incidents that had me shouting out loud as well as tearing up in my disbelief. Revelations about certain characters and events only added to the tension as I powered on eager to see how it would affect current situations and the overall outcome.
  • Emotions
    The Emerald Lily was a roller coaster rider, wringing so much emotion from me. There was never a dull moment and I felt fear, excitement, sadness, joy, hate, and emotions ran the gamut.
  • Visceral Action
    JCross didn't shy away from violence. These people were at war against an evil monarchy who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Therefore, they met the violence head on. JCross left no doubt as to whether there were limits to the violence the monarchy would inflict and it was appalling to witness. The rebellion suffered greatly but never lost focus. The action added depth to the story overall as well as keeping the tension and excitement levels high.
  • Balance
    One of the best things about The Emerald Lily was how well JCross balanced all the elements. There was just enough action, just enough suspense, the right amount of character development, and the perfect amount of romance to create a superb story!

I don't think I could have asked for a more thrilling and satisfying ending. JCross has made a fan of me and I look forward to reading more from her.

Two items of note:
1) I'm not sure if I'm only familiar with Disney's versions of fairytales and there are more to the original versions, if JCross used other myths/stories for inspiration, or if the "extras" are all her imagination but I admire all the parts of these stories.
2) For those of you who are die-hard historical readers, some of the language used in this series might not be historically accurate, but don't let that deter you from enjoying this series!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My TBR List Review *January* ~ Steal the Day ~ Lexi Blake #MyTBRList #COYER #2018HW


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

Steal the Day (Thieves, #2)Steal the Day by Lexi Blake
Thieves #2
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Challenges: #COYER, #2018HW, #MyTBRList, #TravelingtotheTerminus

When a member of her crew is dragged to Hell by a demon, Zoey plans the most dangerous heist of her career. With her team at her side, Zoey intends to sneak onto the Hell plane and steal Sarah back.

The job seems impossible until a new client makes them an offer too good to refuse. If she can find an ancient artifact called The Revelation, she can use it to locate an angel who holds Sarah's redemption in his hands.

Surrounded by warring angels and demons, the greatest threat may come from one of her own. Torn between her Fae lover and the vampire who has always held her heart, Zoey finds that she and Dev are trapped in Daniel's web of secrets and it may be Zoey who has to pay the ultimate price.

It's a close call but I think I enjoyed Steal the Day even more than Steal the Light! Of course, being a vampire fan, it helped that Daniel held a more pivotal role here and I was able to really see him for who he is. Despite being firmly on TeamDaniel, Dev made it hard not to fall for him, especially when he proved he was more than a pretty boy out for a good time.

In Steal the Day, Zoey is set on rescuing her friend, Sarah, from Hell. While she's trying to figure out a plan, a customer comes to her with a job offer which will help in more ways than one. Once that is set in motion, Zoey must also deal with vampire politics, Daniel's secrets and plans, and Dev's new role in those particular proceedings.

Steal the Day had all the good stuff its predecessor did - fae, demons, vampires, witches, and weres, suspense, action, and romance. Then it upped the ante adding some crazy demon-worshipers, some angels, and even more goodness in the romance department. The action and suspense elements were all the more riveting thanks to Zoey since she always manages to get herself into some sort of trouble. Blake also did some world building with her vampires, showing us more vampire history, vampire society, and politics. Blake definitely tugged at my heartstrings with Zoey, Daniel, and Dev trying to work out a compromise in relation to their feelings for one another. Oh! And we got to meet Lucifer Morningstar!

Did I mention how much I love Zoey? She sometimes lets her mouth fly before her brain fully engages but she's a hoot and I wouldn't want her any other way. There was much talk of balance in this installment and that theme seemed to particularly apply to Zoey, Daniel, and Dev. Zoey's done some growing via accepting how she feels and what she wants out of her relationships with Daniel and Dev. But Daniel and Dev did the most maturing. Daniel admitted and demonstrated his feelings - but more than that, he proved the depth of them by agreeing to things that went against his against his vampire nature as well as admitting he has limitations due to his vampire nature. Dev, on the other hand, showed the depth of his feelings for Zoey by taking on a role in Daniel's life and being willing to sacrifice for her - even give her up because of his own limitations. Like I said, they each showed what they're really made of and that they'd sacrifice a lot for Zoey.

The ending just left me anxious for more. I'm eager to see what item Zoey will be contracted to steal next and why, as well as seeing where things go with all Daniel and Dev are plotting. Steal the Moon promises to be an exciting ride!

Friday, January 26, 2018

#COYER Review ~ Taming Cross ~ Ella James

Taming Cross (Love Inc., #2)Taming Cross by Ella James
Love, Inc #2
Release Date: August 19, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.

Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.

If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.

What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?

It's been awhile since I read the first in this series - where I met Cross Carlson - but WOW! EJames pulled me right back into this world. Taming Cross was gripping and suspenseful...and a little bit romantic. :)


  • Character Development
    Cross did a lot of growing up. His dad is the governor of California and he's always lived a privileged life even if his parents didn't appreciate him. Following some events from the first book, he's changed. And his transformation continued in Taming Cross, where he risked everything to right a wrong. Meredith matured a lot as well. She'd endured quite a bit over the last several years but she realized she'd made mistakes in her past, wanted to/was making amends, and was grateful for the second chance she was offered.
  • Suspense
    I was impressed with the level of suspense EJames was able to maintain. It was pretty intense and when a lull occurred I was drawn into a false sense of security...then BOOM! Something else would happen. Cross and Meredith were dealing with a Mexican drug cartel so...
  • Romance
    There were reasons - very sound, logical and BIG reasons - that Cross and Meredith shouldn't even think about being together. But they couldn't seem to help themselves. Of course, there's nothing like some danger to ratchet up the sexual tension. ;) In all seriousness though, neither Cross nor Meredith felt worthy of the other and yet were constantly proving they absolutely were. There was attraction but they both denied themselves, making more of a slow-burn romance which worked so well for their story.

Taming Cross made for a compelling read and a worthy installment in the series. I like the common thread of redemption EJames has woven between the first two books and I'm looking forward to Unmaking Marchant to see how it's carried through there.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #74 ~ The Red Lily ~ Juliette Cross

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts is a weekly meme hosted by my blogger wife, Lexxie, @(un)Conventional Bookviews. It's a way to highlight a book using quotes that revolve around food and/or drinks. Every Thursday, post a line or two...or heck, a whole paragraph, that spoke to you in some way using food or drinks. *wink* Don't forget to link up!

My pick this week for Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts is from:

The Red Lily by Juliette Cross
I chose this passage despite the fact there isn't much mentioned as far as actual food or drink besides the tea because this scene was meaningful in how Nikolai looked after Sienna. They'd had a long journey, in the rain, that day. And even though he's a vampire and doesn't need food or drink, he made sure Sienna had both to ensure her comfort.


"There you are, my lady. Please come and have a warm cup of tea."
She upended the teacup that was facedown across from Nikolai and poured a steaming cup as Sienna made her way to them. He rose from his seat and watched her. She thought she was accustomed to the way Nikolai tracked her movements by now, but the heat in his gaze as he followed her from the door to his table nearly buckled her knees.
She sat across from him, her eyes on the tea. He took his seat again.
"I will bring a few refreshments in a moment," said the innkeeper with a smile before leaving them alone, for there was no one else in the parlor.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#COYER Review ~ At Peace ~ Kristen Ashley

At Peace (The 'Burg, #2)At Peace by Kristen Ashley
The 'Burg #2
Release Date: May 2, 2011
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that's when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can't beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi's hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she's sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she's ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn't know the dark secrets in Joe's past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they've drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe's determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet's heart.

Crushed by Joe's betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet's husband's murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can't fight Violet's pull, she's under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?

After spending a little time in the world of KA's Unfinished Hero series, it was good to return to a story that gave me more of what I expect from KA. A return to The 'Burg was just what I needed.


  • Characters
    Violet is so awesome! Not only is she a great mom to 2 teen daughters (who are equally as awesome as their mom), she's a devoted sister and friend. She's loyal, compassionate, and so resilient! I adored her outlook on life - bad things happen but you have to go on because there's just no other choice. Joe has been mostly existing for the last 17 years. He lost everything he'd ever wanted in one fell swoop and changed his goals thereafter. He never thought to hope for more. And then Vi and her girls moved in next door. As is typical with KA, she has a large secondary cast who are well-developed and engaging. Not only did I get to spend time with old friends (from For You) but I met new ones who I hope to spend more time with in the future.
  • Story
    Both Vi and Joe know about loss. It broke my heart how well acquainted with it they are. Together they filled holes in each other - gave each other things they needed. Watching them fall wasn't always comfortable - I wanted to shake them both silly sometimes - but they knew they were meant to be and it was worth all they went through to get there. 
  • Suspense
    The way KA incorporated the suspense element was well done. Where things came to a head might have been a little formulaic (a la KA) but I give her a pass here because she writes good suspense in her romance and doesn't really shy away from the grit.

So At Peace was that comfort read for me - what I expect from KA - and just what I needed. I'm eager to spend more time in The 'Burg and I dearly hope to get better acquainted with a few of my new friends.

Monday, January 22, 2018

#COYER Review ~ The Black Lily ~ Juliette Cross (@Juliette__Cross)

The Black Lily (Vampire Blood, #1)The Black Lily by Juliette Cross
Vampire Blood #1
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, Fairytale
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #TravelingtotheTerminus

Cinderella like you've never seen before...

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince's blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can't push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever...

After finishing The White Lily, #3 in the series, I knew I'd *need* to go back and read the first two...and the finale which releases this month. :)  I'm not much of a fairytale retelling reader but JCross hooked me with her vampire/fairytale blending. The Black Lily, a Cinderella retelling, was every bit as engaging as The White Lily.

The Black Lily is where it all started. This series revolves around a revolution - the peasant class tired of making life comfortable for the ruling vampires - started by a young woman named Arabelle. Arabelle has good reason for her long-held belief that all vampires are monsters. Meeting Prince Marius makes her rethink her stance a bit. Prince Marius has always envied the lower classes believing their lives simple and happy. He has his eyes opened to their plight when he meets Arabelle.

The Black Lily did well in setting the stage for the series without overwhelming world building. (these truly can be read standalone) All the characters are introduced and we're given the vampire mythology as well as the reasons behind the revolt. And don't worry - the bones of the Cinderella story are present as well. I admire how well all the elements - world building, character development, action, romance - are balanced. And the dialog between the characters, especially Arabelle and Marius, is sharp and compelling.

JCross did an excellent job of putting her own spin on this classic story and I'm anxious to get to The Red Lily - Little Red Riding Hood - before The Emerald Lily releases!

Friday, January 19, 2018

#COYER Review ~ Masters Forever ~ Ginger Voight

Masters Forever (Masters Saga, #3)Masters Forver by Ginger Voight
Masters' Saga #3
Release Date: November 27, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

DISCLAIMER: This book is part of a series. Spoilers might be contained in the description. For new readers, start your journey with Devlin and Coralie in Masters for Hire, now available everywhere!

After a devastating betrayal fractures the fairy tale romance between Coralie and Devlin Masters seemingly beyond repair, Coralie tries to piece together a future without the man she had come to love.

Devlin, however, refuses to let her go. He doesn't give a damn if there's a new man on her arm these days. Since that man is Caz Bixby, Dev's sworn enemy, it only makes him even more determined to win her back.

Caz is the new prince in Coralie's fairy tale, her miracle-working personal trainer who had transformed her from a meek pussycat into a sexy, confident lioness ready to take what she wants.

What she really wants is her happy ending with Devlin, and Dev knows it. He digs himself even further into her world so that she can't ignore him, or what she feels about him. He swears that he loves her, and there's much more to the story. To get her back, he knows he has to share his many dark secrets with her, ultimately dragging her down the rabbit hole to the dark and dangerous depths where he's been forced to reside.

But can she ever trust him again after what he did?

Can you?

The shocking secrets finally unfold in MASTERS FOREVER, Book Three of the Masters Sage, Ginger Voight's unconventional love story that will stick with you long after the last page.

Readers 18+: Adult content, including sexual situations some might find objectionable.

So despite having Masters Forever since it released as well as dying to know how things shook out for Dev and Coralie, I waited 2 years to read it. *gasp* I know! Apparently it's a talent. ;) But hey, I finished a series! *fist pump*

Voight's books are a guilty pleasure of mine. I adore her unconventional heroines, with their voluptuous figures, and her heroes who are quite often anti-heroes and who always somehow manage to win me over. Voight is a screenwriter and that talent is showcased in her stories. She always incorporates some relevant issue and music and/or television also typically play a vital role. Her stories are told with aplomb with a flair for the dramatic...thus the reason they're a guilty pleasure. ;)

In this final installment of the Masters Saga, Devlin must do his best to win back Coralie while protecting her from the thing that holds his life hostage. Coralie must decide whether she can forgive Dev while she deals with family issues and an attempt to take down a couple hellbent on the White House.

See what I mean? But the story was engaging and entertaining and I was pulling hard for Coralie and Dev. Voight deftly draws a colorful secondary cast as well which added depth to the story overall. The way things all panned out tested my limits for suspension of disbelief and yet I flipped through the pages as quickly as I could. In the end, I was happy with Coralie and Dev's story and I hope to see all these characters in future books.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #73 ~ At Peace ~ Kristen Ashley

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts is a weekly meme hosted by my blogger wife, Lexxie, @(un)Conventional Bookviews. It's a way to highlight a book using quotes that revolve around food and/or drinks. Every Thursday, post a line or two...or heck, a whole paragraph, that spoke to you in some way using food or drinks. *wink* Don't forget to link up!

My pick this week for Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts is from:

At Peace by Kristen Ashley


"Buddy?" Joe called when we were in bed.
I was in his tee, my cheek to his chest, his heart beating in my ear and I was half asleep.
"That first time, shoulda made me a hot fudge sundae."
My head came up and I looked in the direction of his face, even though I couldn't really see him because it was dark.
"Before I f*cuked you over the first time, you should made me a hot fudge sundae."
"Why?" I asked.
"I wouldn't have f*cked you over. I woulda taken you to Vegas."
"Married you, Vi," he said, sounding like he was close to laughing.
"What?" I breathed.
"They're that good."
"What are?"
His hand curled around the back of my head and he urged, definitely laughing now, "Stick with me here, honey. Your sundaes. They're that good."
My sundaes were good. I loved my sundaes. The hot fudge was Bea's recipe but I made it better simply by putting in a bit of cinnamon.
Still, I asked, "You wouldn't have told me you were done with me if I'd made you a sundae? Instead, you would have married me?"
"Are you tryin' to piss me off when I'm half asleep?"
"Just givin' you a heads up on what'll keep me happy."
I pushed up higher. "You are tryin' to piss me off when I'm half asleep."
He curled up, his arms went around me, and suddenly I was on my back, Joe on me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review ~ A Man Called Ove ~ Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

James and I recently discussed whether movies like Grumpy Old Men and The Bucket List get funnier to us with age. We didn't come to a consensus but we do find grumpy old men funny. So I couldn't wait to dive into A Man Called Ove with its description of a man so curmudgeonly that most people avoid him. And while it certainly did have its moments of laugh out loud hilarity, Ove brought so much more to the table.

We first meet Ove at an Apple store where he's trying to buy a computer...a process that is much more difficult for a 59 year old man than you'd think it would be but he just doesn't seem to speak the language. From there we get well acquainted with Ove - his childhood tragedies and triumphs, his systems and beliefs, his love of Saab, and, eventually, of a woman named Sonja.

I'm not gonna lie...I love Ove...HARD. They don't make men like him anymore and although I'm not sure I'd want to live with him, that's still a crying shame. Ove made me think on things - what's important in this life, how I approach life, how I perceive death, what it means to love...and what the type of car you drive says about you.

A Man Called Ove is gripping, poignant, full of humor and sadness. The characters are all engaging and the story is masterfully told even if the prose is simple. Ove is a man I felt I knew at times, and identified with at others. I alternately found myself laughing and sobbing throughout. But Ove is not a character I'll forget anytime soon nor will I forget his lessons on life.

I'd also like to point out that this book was originally written in Swedish. That it's so moving says a lot for its translator. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

#COYER Review & #Giveaway ~ Mr. & Mrs. ~ JA Huss

Mr. & Mrs. (Mister, #6)
Mr. & Mrs. by JA Huss
Misters #6
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Mr. Perfect, Mr. Romantic, Mr. Coporate, Mr. Mysterious, and Mr. Match found what they were looking for and now it's time to seal the deal. Five Aston hasn't quite found his happily ever after yet...not quite. But he will. And he's about to host the party of the century for all his family and friends.

If you loved Happily Ever After, you can't miss this one either. It's the delicious cherry on the top of the most perfect dessert and all your favorite characters will be back for story.

It was such a treat to get to spend time with the Misters and their Missuses - all together at one time, in one place. And no one was in any real danger if you didn't count the pigs...or the kittens...or the stallion...or those island kids! LOL Seriously though, Mr. & Mrs. was a lot of fun.

It's been almost a year since the Misters dealt with all that Mister business and now they're all getting down to the business of living. Of course, they want to really start things with a wedding. And if one Mister is going to do it, they all will. Getting to see what everyone is up to now was a pleasure. I mean, each of the couples came together under strenuous times so it was nice to see them just be "normal" - worrying about being couples and/or parents, etc. I was also a joy to see the camaraderie between them all - the family they've created outside of family, how they are all there for one another. And then there were the surprises. Naturally, Huss had to throw a few twists in and for these particular ones, I'll always be grateful.

Mr. & Mrs. was the pretty, sparkly bow tying up an already fantastic series.

For those of you who haven't yet started the Misters series, I have a signed paperback copy of Mr. Perfect up for grabs. Just obey the Rafflecopter below. 
Sorry! Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is for U.S only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 13, 2018

My TBR List ~ January ~ And the Winner is...


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?!?


In 2018, I'm once again working at catching up on series and y'all get to decide which series I'm going to read each month! :D

And the Winner (by a nose) is:

Steal the Day (Thieves, #2)Steal the Day
Thieves #2

When a member of her crew is dragged to Hell by a demon, Zoey plans the most dangerous heist of her career. With her team at her side, Zoey intends to sneak onto the Hell plane and steal Sarah back.

The job seems impossible until a new client makes them an offer too good to refuse. If she can find an ancient artifact called The Revelation, she can use it to locate an angel who holds Sarah's redemption in his hands.

Surrounded by warring angels and demons, the greatest threat may come from one of her own. Torn between her Fae lover and the vampire who has always held her heart, Zoey finds that she and Dev are trapped in Daniel's web of secrets and it may be Zoey who has to pay the ultimate price.

Thanks so much for voting, y'all. It was a close one this month. One vote decided the winner. Check back on January 27th to see my review. :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Release Review ~ Angel of Shadow ~ D.H. Nevins #2018NewRelease

Angel of Shadow (Wormwood #2)Angel of Shadow by D.H. Nevins
Wormwood #2
Release Date: January 13, 2018
Genre: Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Source: I received an eARC from the author. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2018NewRelease

D.H. Nevins hurtles you into a world of half-angels, demons and tormented love in this driving, dystopian sequel to Wormwood.

Half-angels, known as Nephilim, have all but destroyed the surface of the Earth. Yet for Kali Michaels, her life is now much more complicated than simply surviving. Grappling with her own powerful identity, she worries her connection to the world of Shadows could destroy those around her.
And what if she hurts Tiamat Wormwood, the Nephilim outcast who has given everything to save her?
Tiamat and Kali know hey have no future - not when outside forces and Kali's own power push both the humans and the Nephilim to the brink of extinction.
As she fights to stop the inevitable, she is led to question who her real enemies are, and whether the ultimate threat may actually be herself.

To say I'd been anxiously awaiting the release of Angel of Shadow is an understatement. Wormwood made much an impression I couldn't wait to see what Kali and Tiamat did next. But wait I did. And fortunately, Angel of Shadow was worth the wait!

  • Characters
    Of course, Kali and Tiamat are the central characters of the story but Nevins also further developed characters we'd previously met as well as weaving in some new ones. All the characters, particularly a demon named Richard, added complexity to the story overall as well as creating tension, suspense, and providing comic relief. I'm a fan of character growth and watching Kali in particular grow, change, and mature was a pleasure.
  • Action/Suspense/Gritty Setting
    Angel of Shadow didn't skimp on action or suspense. Now that the Nephilim are split and no one is quite certain what the new missions is, I waited and watched with bated breath to see what was going to happen. Also a revelation concerning Kali had me biting my nails as the repercussions slowly revealed themselves. And of course Richard had to keep stirring things up for all involved.
    Nevins adeptly paints a post-apocalyptic landscape. I could almost taste the dust and ask, feel the crunch of dirt and small pebbles being walked on, feel the oppressive darkness of the caves. And the battle scenes had me gasping for air.
  • Thought-provoking Elements
    Nevins had Kali, Tiamat, and other dealing with accepting new roles as well as accepting themselves when new characteristics/traits were realized. It was interesting and exciting to witness characters learning to deal when things went against long-held beliefs, when they reached deep and found inner strength they didn't realize was there, and try to understand that genetics don't make a person, it's the choices the person makes and the actions the take that make them who they are. Kali and Tiamat are also exploring love - what it means to love and to be loved.
And all this was delivered in Nevins' beautiful prose.

The future is uncertain for Kali, Tiamat, and their friends. Whatever comes, they'll face it together. I'm eager to see where things go from here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#COYER Review ~ Shine ~ Dannika Dark #ShelfLove #TravelingtotheTerminus

Shine (Mageri, #5)Shine by Dannika Dark
Mageri Series #5
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

In the short span of a year, Silver has gone from becoming a Mage to discovering the truth about her unique genetics. Logan Cross went from her mortal enemy to her immortal lover, but a threat is fast approaching like an inevitable storm. Attacks are underway against the Mageri and one man is behind it - an elusive foe who is an unstoppable force. Nero is not Silver's only concern as someone close to her is arrested for treason. In the midst of chaos, Silver discovers she cannot protect everyone from the wrath of fate, including her own Ghuardian.

Justus finally opens his heart, but an unexpected turn of events could darken his soul forever. Secrets are revealed that will leave you reeling from one twist after the next. Would you sacrifice everything for love?

Destiny has set sail and once she alters her course, no one's life will ever be the same in this explosive conclusion to the Mageri Series.

I'm not sure I could have imagined a better ending for this series than Shine. Dark did an excellent job of driving us to where she wanted us, tying up some loose ends, but also leaving things in a way where we can dream up the direction certain things and certain characters go from here. And it was ALL worth the ride.

As I've said in most, if not all, my reviews for this series, I admire how Dark takes on certain relevant topics and explores them as they apply to the world of Breed. Things came to a head in Shine as an enemy of Silver pitted Breed against one another using said topics. The way things went down might not have been as exciting if not for the circumstances under which they happened and the revelations brought forth. However, it all combined for quite a bit of nail-biting and explosive excitement.

The way in which Dark wrapped up things for Silver and Logan, Adam, Justus and Page, Simon, Christian, and even Novis was very satisfying as well. That she was able to develop such a large cast of characters so well is a feat considering they are all different Breed and therefore it wasn't their Breed that brought them all together but their humanity. Dark had several themes running throughout the seires - humanity, doing the right thing, selflessness, fate, sacrifice - and one of the most gratifying elements of the series has been watching Silver mature and seeing how she and those close and important to her were affected by her and her beliefs...they all impacted each others' lives for the better.

I'm happy and a little sad to have finished the series. I know I have a novella and a companion novel yet to read and I will do that soon. I'm also very eager to start the Crossbreed series which is set in this same world. It'll be interesting to see where Dark takes things from here.

If you haven't met Silver and her friends, I highly recommend you do and SOON! :)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review ~ Gravity ~ Dannika Dark #ShelfLove #TravelingtotheTerminus

Gravity (Mageri, #4)Gravity by Dannika Dark
Mageri Series #4
Release Date: June 12, 2013
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

When a choice is made, it will forever alter the course of our destiny. It cannot be undone, for fate is a river changing direction and carving away the bed of our hearts like everlasting fractures.

A turbulent past has left Silver a broken woman, but she is learning to trust again through Logan Cross, a Chitah who has convinced her that a dangerous man can change. Their bond will be put to the ultimate test when an old nemesis reappears and flips her world upside down. Will Logan be able to tame the animal within, or will he succumb to his impulsive nature?

The ongoing investigation into Breed experiments unveils a shocking secret about Silver's past. Standing at a fork in the road, Silver is forced to make a decision. Each comes with a consequence, and there is no turning back.

"My eyes may not know all of you, but my heart does. I loved you before I was born, and I will love you long after I pass from this earth."

Gravity contains romance, passion, twists, and nail-biting drama.

Hooboy! This is getting interesting!

First, I want to reiterate how much I admire Dark for taking on topics like equality for women and racism and bigotry, using the context of the Breed. It's well done and an added complexity to the story.

In Gravity - which is an excellent title considering how this installment explores the gravity of decision making where the characters are concerned - we see Silver blossoming into her new life and as a person of note. There are revelations made about who and what she is and she makes tough decisions - decisions that enable her to protect the ones she loves though they'll never know about it. Gravity also allows us to become better acquainted with Justus. He's an honorable man, which was demonstrated when he took Silver in as his Learner. But we get to see a completely different side of him here - a more tender side. And it was incredible.

Gravity trades in some of the white-knuckle action for gut-wrenching emotion. I was shredded over some of the things that happened here. Logan, though, he ensured my love and loyalty towards him despite one thing he did. He proved his worthiness - well he and Silver proved their worthiness of each other.

As with all the books in this series, the supporting cast is stellar and invaluable. Spending time with them all is a treat. And although I hate to see the series end, I'm also anxious to see how everything shakes out.