Tuesday, July 31, 2018

#COYER Mini-Challenge Day #3 ~ Are You Enjoying Your Romantic Suspense?

COYER Mini-Challenge: Romantic Suspense

Hey there! Welcome to Day #3 of our Romantic Suspense Mini-Challenge. How's it going so far? Are you enjoying your romantic suspense? What books have you read? I'm about halfway through Relentless by Elizabeth Dyer, and I'm still enjoying it. I just wish I read faster! 

Continuing with our story... be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment.

I had thought first contact was nerve-racking. It was nothing compared to actually meeting in person. We'd decided on neutral ground for our first face-to-face. She had arrived ahead of me and I found myself wondering if she was as nervous as I? We'd spent time connecting, getting to know each other's likes and dislikes, things we had in common, but things might be different in person. Isn't that what they warn about when "meeting" people online? The butterflies in my stomach felt like bats as the taxi pulled up to my destination. They didn't calm as I entered the establishment. Then I saw her. And when our gazes met, I knew I'd been right about her. 

Don't forget to get your entries in the Rafflecopter!

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Monday, July 30, 2018

New(ish) Release Review ~ Hot Asset ~ Lauren Layne #2018NewRelease

Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1)Hot Asset by Lauren Layne
21 Wall Street #1
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Source: I received an eARC from Montlake Romance via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2018NewRelease

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he's met his match in Lara McKenzie - a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case - the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading - could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger. 

She'll do anything to prove he's guilty. He'll do anything to prove he's not. But it's only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It's become a pleasure - and there's more at risk than she ever dreamed.

I'd never read Lauren Layne before. *hangs head* I know, I know. But I honestly think I picked a great story to serve as my introduction to her writing. Hot Asset was funny, romantic, suspenseful, and HOT! I absolutely enjoyed every minute.

Ian Bradley, a man who has climbed from essentially the streets to become one of Wall Street's elite, finds himself in hot water. Not only is he under investigation by the SEC but he's also insanely attracted to the investigator. And they may have gotten off to a rough start. ;)

Lara McKenzie, an SEC investigator with her sights set on the FBI, prides herself on being thorough and following protocol to the "T". In her investigation of Ian, she finds herself in uncharted territory. Not only is she attracted to Ian but she's also hoping he's not guilty while also wanting him to be because he's just the sort of high profile case in which a win would guarantee her the FBI's notice.

The character development and growth of Ian and Lara was impressive and y'all know how I like that. Both Ian and Lara slowly come to realize what was really important to them and I appreciated how LLayne handled the delicate navigation of the laws where Ian and Lara were concerned. Their histories and backgrounds, also slowing revealed, helped develop their characters, explaining the things that defined them. I haven't read any (that I recall) books set on Wall Street like this and I liked the relevancy of the topic. And I most admired how LLayne developed the romance. The attraction between Ian and Lara was abvious and I quite enjoyed the snarky banter. But as things advance between them, even with the chemistry being electric, it all felt organic and realistic.

LLayne also created a wonderful secondary cast, which is brilliant seeing as this is the first in this series and I'm now extremely eager to get Ian's friends' stories. Besides serving to hook me into wanting to read the next in the series, Matt, Sabrina, Kennedy, and Kate also served to give depth not only to Ian and Lara but also to the story overall. The interactions between them all further conveyed the type of people Ian and Lara are.

Hot Asset was an exciting read with an inherently readable story, compelling characters, humor, a little suspense, and a completely satisfying romance. LLayne is one of my favorite new-to-me authors of 2018!

#COYER Mini-Challenge ~ Join Us for Some Romantic Suspense Day #2

COYER Mini-Challenge: Romantic Suspense

Hello and welcome to Day #2 of our Romantic Suspense Mini-Challenge. How's it going? Are you enjoying your romantic suspense? I'm reading an ARC I got awhile back - Relentless by Elizabeth Dyer. It's pretty good so far. Tell me about what you're reading. What do you plan to read next?

And now that that first little bit o' fun... each day you'll get a little more of this story.

I've been watching her for awhile. She's beautiful. And she's funny but she's also smart. I can tell. She seems like the kind of woman I could connect with. She intrigued me from the start but I had to be ready before making contact. I'm not sure I'm ready but it's time. I don't want to wait any longer. I'm quite nervous. I've never done this sort of thing before. What will she think? Will she like what I have to say? Will she care? Will she like...me? I bite my lip and wring my hands in anxiety. I take a deep breath. I have to be brave. I have to pluck up the courage or I'll never know. Right? Right. Another deep breath. And I push the button.

Stay tuned for the next installment... and be sure to get your entries in the Rafflecopter!

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

#COYER Mini-Challenge ~ Let's Read Some Romantic Suspense!

COYER Mini-Challenge: Romantic Suspense

Hello all :) Welcome to our COYER Mini-Challenge for Romantic Suspense! Lexxie @(un)Conventional Bookviews and I are so happy to have you :)

This challenge is pretty straight forward - read three romantic suspense books this next week, one book that you've bought, one you've borrowed - either from the library or a friend, and one you've received for free - either a gift, or an ARC.

We both love romantic suspense, because there is a little bit of angst to go with the romance, and sometimes, the suspense parts are so good we just can't wait to flip to the next page. Plus, having romance in those books just makes everything a bit more bearable, are we right? 

And since we love our romantic suspense, we have something we hope will be fun for y'all. It's a little romantic and a bit suspenseful. Starting tomorrow, we'll give y'all a bit of a story leading up to something we have in the works...and if you can guess what that something is, you get an extra entry in the giveaway.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Blogger Chick-Reader Chick Chat Review ~ Driven ~ K. Bromberg #COYER #ShelfLove

Driven (Driven, #1)Driven by K. Bromberg
Driven #1
Release Date: December 25, 2013
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove

Rylee Thomas is used to being in control. But she's about to meet the one man that just might make her enjoy losing it...

I am the exception to the rule.

In a world full of willing women, I'm a challenge to the roguish and achingly handsome Colton Donavan. A man used to getting exactly what he wants in all aspects of life. He's the reckless bad boy constantly skating that razor thin edge toward out of control, on and off of the track.

Colton crashes into my life like a tornado: sapping my control, testing my vulnerabilities beyond their limits, and unintentionally penetrating the protective wall around my healing heart. Tearing apart the world I rebuilt so carefully with structure, predictability, and discipline.

I can't give him what he wants and he can't give me what I need. But after a glimpse beneath his refined exterior into the dark secrets of his damaged soul, can I bring myself to walk away?

Our sexual chemistry is undeniable. Our individual need for complete control is irrefutable. But when our worlds collide, is the chemistry enough to bring us together or will our untold secrets and battle of wills force us apart?


Yay! Denise and I have another Book Bonanza buddy read/chat review under our belts! We have another one coming and even though Book Bonanza is over, I think we'll continue with these buddy reads and chats. Enjoy!


Me: Yay! Another Book Bonanza buddy read under our belts!

While Driven was a bit angsty for me at times, I'm completely invested in Rylee and Colton, as individuals and as a couple.

1. Rylee and Colton's initial meeting was comedic despite the circumstances that created it. They both felt such an immediate connection. How do you feel about the way Bromberg handled that connection throughout the book?

Denise: Bromberg kept the connection hot and lusty. I felt that the first meeting with its fiery lust was going to be the highlight of the connection but I was completely wrong. They have a connection that they cannot fight even as they both try.

It was definitely a case of insta-lust but I liked that Rylee fought the attraction and Colton despite his fierce determination. I agreed with Rylee in that part of Colton's attraction to her was that she said "no" but clearly it was more and became so much more.

2) How do you feel about the reasons behind both Rylee's and Colton's attempts to keep distance between them? 

Both characters have some very dep emotional reasons for wanting distance. Although they are very different, they both run very deep and have closed themselves off. It was very difficult to hear Rylee's story but the bits and pieces of Colton's that we have seen are very disturbing and we still don't know the whole story. So while Rylee's reasons are very sad, Colton's just piss me off.

Rylee's reasons - which we become intimately aware of - broke my heart. And she hasn't shared everything yet - at least with Colton. To experience all she did and then to be treated the way she was by people she trusted (at least I assume she trusted) was awful. She's certainly scarred physically and emotionally, and rightfully so.
Colton's reasons we're only guessing at and I'm getting an idea they aren't pretty. They must be beyond terrible if the life he was eventually gifted wasn't able to help him heal at all.

3) What do you think about Rylee's profession and how it relates to Colton's issues?

I believe the work she does helps her relate to Colton but as in many situations it is hard to see things in your personal life even if it is part of your work life. Rylee is very giving and definitely not selfish in any way but still has difficulty dealing with some situations due to it affecting her heart and not her job.

I love that she's working to help a population that is probably largely ignored. I think it helps her deal and heal from some of what she's gone through. And it puts her at an advantage in knowing how to approach Colton at times. I find it ironic that Colton believes he's so irrevocably damanged and yet you can "feel" his hope that Rylee will be the one to heal him.

4) And that brings me to wondering how you felt about the push and pull between these two and the angst is caused.

As you read the story it is obvious that they care for each other but they can never be on the same page at the same time. The push and pull makes for a great story but at times I just wanted to tell them to get their act together and get on the same page.

I did feel it was mighty angsty at times and while I don't mind angst, there were times I wanted to shake them both and yell "Make up your mind!" Honestly, that was the only downside to the story so far.

Overall, I liked the story, the plot, and the character development. I'm impressed with Bromberg considering this was her debut. And I'm anxious to start Fueled - which I know you've already finished. I'm eager to get the story behind all of Colton's demons and to see him healed...because I know he's capable of being "fixed."

It is a great story. I love the chemistry. Broberg really knows how to write a cliffhanger which makes you buy the next book at 11 p.m.!!!!

In the end, both Denise and I gave Driven 4 Bookworms and I know we'll be continuing the series...Denise is already one ahead of me!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Release Day Review ~ The Sexpert ~ JA Huss & Johnathan McClain (@JAHuss @MisterJMcClain) #2018NewRelease

The SexpertThe Sexpert by JA Huss & Johnathan McClain
Tall, Dark & Handsome #1
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Source: I received an eARC from the authors. This did not affect my rating and I voluntarily provided a review.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2018NewRelease


I'm just a simple girl who likes dessert. And sexy men. And social media. So starting an anonymous video channel call The Sexpert as a side hustle to make up for my low-paying marketing job at Le Man Magazine seemed like a perfectly sensible career decision. Until we went viral, my boss accused my anonymous personality of stealing his idea, and now my super sexy new boyfriend, Andrew, is out to get me.

Her. Me. Whatever.


I don't want it to be her. I do not want this... sweet, delicious, shy social media nerd working at my best friend's magazine to be the face behind those perky cupcakes on the Sexpert channel. I don't want it to be her... because I like her. A lot. She's funny, and quirky, and smart, and creative... and... I really, really like her. It just can't be her.

But it is.
And now I have to choose.
My best friend?
Or... The Sexpert?

I met up with JA and Johnathan - actually met Johnathan for the first time - at Book Bonanze the night after I finished The Sexpert. The first think I did was ask JA if the TDH (Tall, Dark & Handsome) neighborhood was real. Okay, I actually first said how much fun the book was but I seriously was dying to know. It's not real. Phew! I know I'm out of the loop but I was hoping I wasn't that out of it. ;)

Anyway, Huss and McClain's foray into the world of romantic comedy was a fun time. It was the perfect blanace of comedy and romance and it dealt with relevant topics as well as taking us along for the ride for the journey of self-discovery both Eden and Andrew found themselves on.

Eden meets Andrew on a day that's seeminly indicating her life is changine...and all for the better. Then things take a downturn when she finds out Andrew - this guy she could really, really like, is tasked by her boss to figure out who the person behind The Sexpert is so he can sue her for intellectual property theft.

Andrew meets Eden on his first morning in town and he thinks Denver is looking mighty nice. The shine begins to fade a little when he starts thinking that the girl he just met - a girl that he could really, really like - might be the person behind The Sexpert and therefore his best friend's nemesis.

Y'all, the premise hooked me and the characters reeled me in. I adored Eden's awkward quirkiness and I enjoyed Andrew's artistic and compassionate way of looking at things. Their interactions were entertaining no matter what they were doing - looking at art or mountains, discussing work or sex. That they couldn't ignore the pull they felt despire knowing they could each make life messy for the other was fun and compelling. And I appreciated how they each learned so much about themselves in the process of trying to figure out how to do the right thing - decide what the right thing even was. Sigh. So good.

I look forward to more in this series and hope to see more of Eden and Andrew. Huss and McClain impressed me here. RomCom from this duo seems promising and I'm excited.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

New(er) Release Review ~ Before and Again ~ Barbara Delinsky #2018NewRelease

Before and AgainBefore and Again by Barbara Delinsky
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Source: I received an eARC from St. Martin's via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2018NewRelease

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends - and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She's thankful for the new friends she's made - though she can't risk telling them too much. ANd she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn't the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend's teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man's Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself - or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie's own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

I knew here name but I'd never read BDelinsky before. The synopsis of Before and Again intrigued me though so I requested it. I'm so happy I did. Delinsky delivered a character-driven, captivating story dealing with love, loss, guilt, forgiveness, and what it means to be a true friend.

  • Characters
    Maggie (Mackenzie) is the central character and she was a woman I wanted to wrap up in a big, warm hug. She's endured so much and has built a new life in a small, quiet town, and made new friends. She's on a journey of self-discovery of sorts and she's forced to learn a lot about herself when her past shows up in her present, along with helping a new friend face a challenge. The supporting cast was also well-developed where it needed to be - especially Maggie's friends and Edward. I admired how Delinsky created a close-knit community where, for the most part, people rallied around their own even if "their own" weren't life-long residents. That's something I really enjoy about small town settings.
  • Plot
    Delinsky deftly wove together plot threads from past and present as Maggie put together the puzzle of her life. I appreciated how Maggie's past was dealt with and how the present, particularly helping Grace deal with her problem - something Maggie wished she'd had friends do for her - tied those threads together with the present enabling Maggie to see a real future for the first time in a long while.
  • Message (for lack of a better term)
    Before and Again deals with some weighty topics but does so adroitly. I liked what Maggie's story seemed to say aobut how our pasts shape us, are a part of us but don't define us. I liked the element of forgiveness - of others but especially ourselves. I also liked the ways in which Maggie learned about love - familial and romantic - and friendship - what it means to be a good daughter, wife, and friend.

I'm delighted with my introduction to Delinsky and will definitely be reading more from her.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Audio Review ~ Even the Score ~ Beth Ehemann #AudioChallenge #COYER

Even the ScoreEven the Score by Beth Ehemann
Narrated byChristian Fox and Lucy Rivers
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Audible
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges#AudioChallenge, #COYER, #ShelfLove

Single dad Andy Shaw loves his job as a sports agent, with one exception: it doesn't leave him much time for his kids. No parent likes being sidelined, so Andy decides to hire someone to share the workload. But when one of the hottest agents in the industry applies, Andy knows that this deal is definitely trouble.

Danicka Douglas works her butt off, but being an attractive woman in a testosterone-heavy industry isn't exactly a cakewalk. She guards her professional reputation fiercely, which means no crushing on her gorgeous boss. But the more they ignore that sexy little spark, the more it sizzles...

Just when it looks like romance might be in the plan, Dani is threatened by a stalker with dark intentions. To keep her safe, Andy must cross the line between professional and very personal...because this time, he's playing for keeps.

Even the Score was my first Beth Ehemann read and I'm eager to read her backlist now so I can get the stories behind a few of the characters I met here. Andy and Danicka's story was one I enjoyed even though I wished a few things had been handled differently.

What Worked:

  • Characters Andy is a good guy. A single dad who has built his business and life around providing for his kids. In order to spend more time with them he decides to take on a partner - enter Danicka. Danicka is a strong and intelligent woman making a name for herself in a male-dominated profession. I liked them both, who they were as individuals - loyal and compassionate and funny - and I liked them together. They built a friendship first and then worked at the more.
  • Plot The circumstances that enabled Andy and Danicka to get closer, while maybe a little predictable, felt realistic. Ehemann was able to surprise me with the reveal which kinda shocked me. I appreciated the suspense and tension these circumstances created. I also liked the sports management element which kept me guessing.
  • Romance This is a slow-burn and it worked. There were many things to consider before going in - Andy and Danicka's work relationship, Andy's kids, their pasts - but I liked how Ehemann made it all work.
  • Narration I admit to having grabbed this book because I adore Christian Fox's narration. And he proved once again why he's one of my favorites. His delivery, his pacing, his voices...gah! I just love him. Lucy Rivers is a narrator I enjoy as well and that's a good thing since she's routinely paired with Christian Fox. ;)
What Could Have Worked Better:
  • Danicka's Issues I felt like there were things - like her being raised by a single dad - that could have been explored more which would have given her more depth and complexity.
  • The Reveal The reveal honestly surprised me but at the same time, I think it was tied up way too neatly. That part wasn't realistic all things considered.

Overall, I liked Even the Score and I'll be adding more of Ehemann's books to my library.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Blogger Chick Chat Review ~ Bad at Love ~ Karina Halle #2018NewRelease #AudioChallenge

Bad at Love by Karina Halle
Narrated by: Cornell Collins and Jo Raylan
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges#2018NewRelease, #AudioChallenge

She's bad at love, but he's even worse...

Marina is hot, blonde, and wickedly smart, but when it comes to men? She's hopeless. Between her quirks and her lack of filter, there isn't a man in Los Angeles that will stick around after the third date.

Her handsome, charming friend Lazarus has the opposite problem. Everyone wants to be the sexy Brit's girlfriend, but he gets bored and moves on quickly.

There's only one way to figure out why neither of them has cracked this love thing -- they'll date each other. On paper, it's the perfect experiment. But in reality, things between Marina and Laz get complicated quickly.

They might be bad at love, but they are even worse at being friends.

Hi wifey! I'm so happy we buddy read Bad at Love - you know, Karina Halle seems to be our "go-to" author for these. ;) Okay, let's chat!

What did you think of Laz's serial monogamy?

Me: I found it very interesting that he dated for periods of time but always had a girl to move to immediately - and that it was easy because he never got close to a girl or let them get close to him. It said a lot about his feelings on relationships even though he felt he was doing a good thing.

Lex: I thought that Laz's serial monogamy was a way for him to not be alone, but also to not be invested. He made himself believe what he did was OK, because he didn't cheat. However, he also didn't really give his girlfriends a chance, as he always knew there was an expiration date.

And what about Laz's career? Poet? Lead singer of a cover band?

I felt both were ways to keep people from really knowing him since poetry is open to interpretation and singing someone else's lyrics allows you to hide. Both were brilliant ways to develop Laz's character and convey the issues he had due to his past. But I loved that he was open with Marina - showed her his true self - and it was easy with her.

Yummy! I loved both his poetry and his music - even when he sang cover songs, he kind of did make them his own. But yeah, he always took the safe road, not taking risks or showing anyone who he really was. I loved his and Marina's friendship too - you know friends to lovers stories are among my favorites, and with Bad at Love, that was one of the things that really made me swoon.

Marina was quirky and I loved her for it. How do you think her childhood influenced her career and relationship choices?

I adored the bee lady! She was out to save everyone - and the planet - one bee at a time. So her career said a lot about her need to save since she was unable to save someone close to her and I think she felt she failed at saving another someone close to her as well. Her relationships and the way she sabotaged them was a self-preservation mechanism. You can't get hurt if you don't let anyone close. In that way, she and Laz were similar. And yet they let themselves be close to each other...because romance was out of the equation. Until it wasn't...

I adored Marina and her awkward dorkiness! It was so funny how she'd have extra coffee and then too much wine at her third date - making sure it would be a disaster, then doing her bee-dance at the end. :D Definitely a self-preservation mechanism, plus, I am pretty sure her subconscious knew there was only one man for her, all the others were just fillers.

Marina and Laz's friendship was miraculous considering how "bad" at love they were. Did you think Laz had ulterior motives for his suggestion about them fake dating or do you think he was genuine and then was genuinely surprised by the results?

I thought he had ulterior motives until I saw his reaction to how good they were together. I was happy about that - but I also felt Marina needed the fake dating to get past her "need" to sabotage things. Then of course I wanted to string Laz up for doing what he always did. I mean, I understood but that was when he should have leaned on Marina... *sigh* All's well that ends well though. :D

I don't think Laz had ulterior motives per se, but he did have strong feelings for her from the beginning, I'm sure of that. However, when things started getting more tangled, he really didn't know what to do with all those feelings he had kept at bay for so long. I cried with Marina when Laz was stupid like that. And while I could kind of understand him, I had hoped he'd be stronger with her.

What did you think overall? And did you get the feeling that this might have been a bit autobiographical? Marina? Lazarus "Scott"?

Overall, I liked Bad at Love. I do love a friends-to-lovers romance and this one just really worked for me. I loved that they'd found their "weirdo" and *finally* figured it out. And I did wonder at whether this was semi-autobiographical since Marina is similar to Karina and her husband's name is Scott... In any event, it was a great read!

I didn't even think of that at all! Autobiographical? Eh...
I loved that Laz and Marina found their weirdo, too, what more can we all ask for, right? I've even found more than one weirdo, since I now also have you, wifey. ;)

So there you have it! Both Lexxie and I adored these characters and how they found their way to love. *sigh*

One thing to note: I actually listened to Bad at Love, which was narrated by Jo Raylan and Cornell Collins. These were both new-to-me narrators and I was impressed. They kept the pace just right as well as kept their voiced distinct and consistent. And they both conveyed the depth and breadth of emotions - especially during the sexy scenes. ;)

Monday, July 2, 2018

#Audio Review ~ Beneath this Mask ~ Meghan March #AudioChallenge #COYER

Beneath This Mask audiobook cover art
Beneath this Mask by Meghan March
Beneath #1
Narrated byAndi Arndt and Holter Graham
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Audible
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #COYER, #ShelfLove

He loves me, and he doesn't even know my real name.

The limelight that follows him could expose everything I'm hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can't force myself to stay away.

I'm going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.

Will we lose it all when I reveal what's beneath this mask?

Beneath this Mask was a captivating story brilliantly brought to life through Arndt's and Graham's narration (although I preferred Arndt's). There wasn't much about this story I didn't like - from the premise to the well-developed characters down to the NOLA setting - it was all good and I'm so happy I gave MMarch a go!

  • Premise
    A Bernie Madoff-style swindle that ruined not only the lives of those swindled but also that of a young woman whose belief in her father was destroyed forcing that young woman into hiding knowing her life would never again be "normal". While in hiding she meets a man who makes her want to give up her solitary lifestyle, maybe reveal her secrets...but she knows that because of his family's name and his career ambitions her mask of ink and colored hair aren't any better for him than the what the fallout would be were the secrets about her identity revealed.
  • Charlie & Simon/Romance
    Charlie and Simon meet in a tattoo shop. Simon is rather persistent in his pursuit of Charlie and despite her misgivings she eventually relents.
    I adored Charlie. She's smart, resilient, tough, and independent...all qualities I admire. She had absolutely no issues living without all the trappings of her privileged upbringing. In fact, those trappings, which she recognizes as the blessings they were, were never things she desired. What she wanted more was a dad who wasn't "dirty" and a mom who validated and valued her for the person she is. But she's finding that in her new life.
    Simon is the son of a semi-famous family and an all-around good guy. I appreciated how he was so into Charlie that he was willing to let her let him in at her own pace. What I also appreciated with these two was their character growth. They both realized what they wanted and that it was going to take some unpleasantness to get there. But they were both willing to wade through that unpleasantness for their own happiness as well as for each other.
  • NOLA
    MMarch did well with bringing to life the vibrant city. From clubs to street vendors, tattoo shops to Bourbon Street, and wedding parades, too...it made me want to go back to New Orleans ASAP!
  • Secondary Characters
    MMarch also created a nice little cast of secondary characters including Charlie's friends - especially Con - her dog, Huck, and Simon's family. I believe I'll get Con's story later in the series and I'm tickled pink over that. :)
  • Narration
    Y'all! I seriously FLOVE Andi Arndt!! Holter Graham was good too but Arndt really nailed it. I feel like I always say the same things about narrators I enjoy but Arndt easily switched from Charlie's voice to Simon's - including a little NOLA-flare for him - and her delivery just ROCKED. 

Beneath this Mask was an absolute pleasure. And it made my 10 hour drive to Texas a joy!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

My TBR List Review *June* ~ Opposition ~ Jennifer L. Armentrout #MyTBRL #COYER #HW2018


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

So sorry for the delay in my posting of this review. I didn't have time on Friday to get it typed up and I was driving back from Texas all day yesterday. =)


Opposition (Lux, #5)
Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Lux Series #5
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #HW2018, #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus


Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her - could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything - even what they cherish most - to ensure the survival of their friends...and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing...

Even though it took me an exorbitant amount of time to finish Opposition (to be fair, I wasn't dedicated-ly reading it all that time), Opposition was honestly the perfect ending to the Lux series. Here are the highlights:

  • Plot
    Not only was I impressed with the plot threads central to this final installment but also the over-arching plot. They were all well done and all tied up nicely. I know it's been awhile in between Origin and Opposition - and a really long while between all the others - but I admit that JLA surprised me with some things. There were others that tied up a little bit too neatly but I still felt they worked well with the story overall. Also, I liked the parallels JLA drew between the prejudice and judgement going on between the Lux, The Arum, and humans and the way those same things we humans perpetrate against each other. So much could be resolved or even avoided if we only treated EVERYONE with respect.
  • Katy & Daemon
    These two have been through so much and go through even more in Opposition. The growth and maturity they both exhibit, the resilience they display, and the strength of the bond only getting stronger in the face of adversity, prove them to be strong individuals and an even stronger couple.
  • Romance
    Well, with Katy & Daemon it goes without saying. Their romance - their love - is something to behold. But I also enjoyed seeing romance blossom or continue to blossom between secondary characters as well.
  • Secondary Characters
    JLA made sure I was equally as invested in the secondary characters as I was in Katy and Daemon throughout the series. Dawson & Beth, Dee, Archer, Luc, Hunter...yeah, JLA created a dynamic cast that gave the story depth and kept me that much more engaged.

In the end, there were things that shocked me, things that made me gasp, things that made me swoon, things that broke my heart, and things that restored my faith in humanity and I couldn't imagine a more fitting ending to this series.