Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Week with the Bad Boy by Brooke Cumberland and Lyla Parish | Review

Title: My Week with the Bad Boy
Author: Brooke Cumberland and Lyra Parish
Pages: 262
Publisher: CreateSpace Independ Publishing Platform
Goodreads Rating: 4.62 stars
Published: November 2nd, 2017
Source: eBook/From Authors


Never trust a man who answers the front door wearing nothing more than a pair of low-cut jeans and a panty-melting smirk.

That should’ve been my first sign.

I write about guys just like him for a living—sexy and charming, yet reluctant to get into a serious relationship. His body screams sex appeal, but his condescending personality makes him a classic f*ckboy. 

And I want nothing to do with that.

Writing romance novels comes with its perks—traveling, meeting new people, creating characters from the voices in my head—but Ethan Rochester enters my life and rearranges all my preconceived notions about writing what inspires you. 

One week is all it took. One week to realize that not everything is as it seems.

One week with the bad boy, and I wanted more.

My Thoughts:

Gah.  I wanted to like this.  Like, a lot.  I really enjoyed most of the Checkmate series, although by the time I got through book 6 I found myself frustrated with all of the unnecessary foul language.  I get it, some people curse a lot.  My husband says I have the mouth of a sailor at times, but I definitely don't drop F bombs in everyday talk... or really any curse words.  Tiny ears in my house with tiny mouths that like to repeat what I saw and ask me what it means.

Vada is a writer in a slump, and Ethan is an artist trying to shake his sad past by keeping everyone {except his Mom and Aunt Millie} at arms length.  That includes only ever having one-night-stands with women he is attracted to.  Until Vada rents the cottage behind his house to cure her writer's block.  Ethan comes on to her strong, and when she discovers that he can help release her tension and make the words for her next novel flow, she's all for a purely physical relationship while she's there for the week.

Like most women, she starts to have feelings for the man she's sleeping with.  Ethan had built mental walls to shield from any emotional attachments, but he finds that Vada seems to fit in his life just perfectly.  Like, despite what happened in his past, she was there and made to be his other half right when he needed it.

I would like to say that, despite the language, I did enjoy the back story to Ethan a lot.  I mean, not how sad it was, but the depth it gave him as a character.  Vada has an interesting history, but Ethan definitely is the one I was drawn to more out of the two {which is funny, because his cocky attitude and cursing kind of rubbed me the wrong way}.  In real life I'm generally not a fan of the bad boys, because they aren't like fictional bad boys - no heart of gold.  Ethan, despite his crass language and rough edges, really does have a heart of gold.

Honestly, if it weren't for the language {and an unnecessary sex scene or two}, I probably would have rated this higher.  But those are just my personal preferences.  If you don't mind the language and lots a wild sex scenes are your thing, then you would probably really like this book!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Review

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Pages: 608
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars
Published: October 20th, 2015
Soure: Handcover/from a friend


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes

My Thoughts:

Oh my lands.  My thoughts are all over the place on this one!  I have yet to be disappointed by a book by Amie Kaufman... in fact, I think all the ones I've read by her I've given at least 4 stars.  The funny thing is I avoided reading this one because I wasnt' sure how I would feel about the layout and formatting of the story.  It didn't matter, because once I got into the story I was hooked.

Kady and Ezra are a typical young couple fresh from a breakup... who find themselves in a not-so-typical situation when their planet is attacked by a corporation wanting to wipe out the colony they're a part of and destroy any evidence of what that colony was {illegally} doing.

Honestly, I really don't think I can give a decent review of this book without spoilers!  Kaufman and Kristoff take the readers for an intense ride, with twists and turns.  Quite literally, actually, as certain parts of the book read in curves and swirls.  I have learned with all of the books I've read by Amie Kaufman, never take anything for face value and always keep reading.  I think that's the one bit of advice I would give any reader tackling on of her books: just keep reading.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Fortunate Ones by R.S. Grey | Review

Title: The Fortunate Ones
Author: R.S. Grey
Pages: Unknown
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Goodreads Rating: 5.00 stars
Published: November 1st, 2017
Source: eBook/From Author


At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…

James Ashwood.

He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.

Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.

On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.

“Come have a seat.”

Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.

When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.

And the thing about the fortunate ones?

They’re used to getting what they want

My Thoughts:

Okay, I have loved the other few books I've read by R.S. Grey {aka Rachel... she totally makes you feel like you know her and her little family via her Instagram}, and I knew this would be no exception to that rule.

Brooke is a fun character {and she must have been a blast to write!}, choosing to live in her hippie building than with her family after being fired from a great nannying gig.  It was the perfect job for her, but she finds herself working at the local country club {you know, one of the ones that only old money can buy their way into}.  She wants to see the world, to travel, to use her degrees in French and Spanish in tutoring {or nannying}... but she really, really just wants to travel and have absolutely no strings holding her down.  Kind of like her mother did when she left Brooke and her sister Ellie when they were younger.

James Ashwood is not quite the typical member of Twin Oaks country Club.  While on the outside he seems like a young and unattached version of many of the club's members, the James that no one sees in much different.  He still wants most the same things any 36-year-old man might want {family, success}, but unlike a lot of people in his circle he doesn't feel the need to find someone else who comes from money.  He just wants someone he can connect with who desires the same things as him.

Brooke and James meet out of a misfortune for Brooke - her closing down the dining room in the club one night when James decided to stay late.  Their doomed relationship blossomed from there, though both had hopes the other would change.  With Brooke's desire to travel, she just knew she wasn't dating material for a man who wanted to settle down.

I really liked Brooke and James.  They're both rich in character and depth, with Brooke's history and desire to see the world, and James' desire and drive to help those in need.  They both have hearts to help others {though I don't think Brooke really realizes she does until later}, and ultimately I think that's what really brings them together and solidifies their relationship.

I 'm glad the author didn't have everything end up roses so quickly.  Or that they didn't get together and "that's that".  Brooke needed time to herself to find herself, and she got that.  It's refreshing having the characters come into their own before settling down with the other.

Now the only reason I gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because of the few times James was a little too aggressive with Brooke, kissing her forcefully when she very obviously was not reciprocating.  Granted, we as the reader are in her head and know she very obviously wants to kiss him, but on her terms {or is just trying to not want to kiss him}.  But James can't totally read her mind {though she does seem to be a bit of an open book to him}, and I just wish it would have been handled a little differently in the writing.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Review

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pages: 358
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Goodreads Rating: 4.05 stars
Published: June 5th, 2012
Source: Paperback/bought


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

My Thoughts:

I was a little blindsided by this book.  Honestly, at first I had a little trouble getting sucked into it {books that seem to just be about fantasy war don't tend to hold my attention}.  However, I needed a break between a a couple books in the same genre, and this was the only one I had with me on vacation.  Plus, I was doing a read-along with a group of bookstagrammers, so I thought it would be the perfect time to give this trilogy a try.  I'm so, so glad I joined that read-along!

Alina is very much what you would imagine an impoverished apprentice mapmaker might be like.  Skinny, dark circles under her eyes, and none of the boys or men she travels with give her a second look, especially her friend Mal, whom she's loved almost as long as they've known each other.  But they're ripped apart when a power she doesn't even know she has comes roaring to life.  Taken to the Darkling and to be trained in the Grisha ways, Alina finds herself floundering in this unknown world, with few friends and many enemies.

Leigh Bardugo has an amazing writing style and it seems like a knack for getting the reader to become entirely immersed in the worlds she creates.  It did take me a little bit to get into the book, but once I did, I was hooked!  I needed to know more about Alina, how her power worked, who the Darkling even is {that is a whole can of worms that is barely even opened yet} and what the bleep was going to happen.  This books leaves the reader with more questions than answers, but I guess that's okay considering it's the first in a trilogy.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Checkmate Boxed Set (Travis & Viola) by Kennedy Fox |

Title: Checkmate Boxed Set (Travis & Viola)
Author: Kennedy Fox
Pages: 552
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodread rating: 4.71 stars
Published: April 3rd, 2017
Source: eBook/bought


Travis King is the worst kind of a$$hole with good looks and enough confidence to last two lifetimes. 

Viola Fisher is a goodie two shoes know-it-all who prefers fictional love stories over her own. 
The only thing they have in common is their mutual hatred for each other. 

She’s had a secret crush on him since she was ten, but Travis has always made it very clear the feelings aren’t mutual. He’s cruel, crass and takes every opportunity to get under Viola’s skin. She’s smart, beautiful, and too good to be true. Hating him is her religion, but needing her is his. 

Although Viola loathes his very existence, against her better judgment she let him into her bed. Her sexy curves and filthy smart mouth make Travis want her even more and although she’s succumbed to his manwh*re ways, she’s determined to not let that change a thing. 

Too bad he has other plans. 

Viola’s always been off-limits, but Travis is determined to keep crossing that line. She can try to push him away, but he always gets what he wants and he’ll do anything to prove he’s done playing games. 

Until then, they’ll play by their own rules to see who will win the biggest battle yet—love or hate? 


My Thoughts:

Okay, at this point I've read all but the last book Checkmate series, and I have to admit this was my least favorite.  While they were still fun books, I wasn't too knocked out by the story.  Maybe because I really couldn't connect with Viola and her attraction to Travis {who was a total d-bag for a good portion of the first book}.  Also, I'm review this as the set, but I read them both separately.  I just find this a bit easier, especially since I'm a little behind in my reviews!

I really liked Viola, especially since she's a bookworm and a Potterhead! I think a lot of women can relate to the frustration and downright hatred she feels towards Travis King, after he was her closest friend, then burned her {and that friendship} as a young teen.  Viola is good and sweet, but Travis brings out the spitfire in her.  It doesn't help that, through everything that happened with Viola and Travis, he has remained her brother Drew's best friend.

Travis comes across as the worst sort of man for any woman.  He behaves towards women very much like a boy in that he uses them for one night {and it seems to be one amazing night, according to many of the women and Travis himself}.  But he doesn't want any relationships or attachments.

Thanks to one daring night with a lot of passion and not so much clothes, Travis and Viola find themselves wanting the other.  And not just for the physical intimacy, but because they actually start to enjoy spending time with each other.  Soon, what once was two enemies battling it out with words every time they saw each other, there are two people who very much care about each other {but still enjoy some verbal sparring}.  Until a wrench gets thrown in those plans.

The second half of this Duet has Viola finally confronting Travis about said "wrench", and the continuing story is how, together, they find a way to use that to build a solid relationship, get to know each other even better, and really put the past in the past.

Overall, I'd probably give this story 3.5 stars.  Like I said, I've been avoiding writing this, because I did enjoy the rest of the series so much.  And while *SPOILER!!!* Travis does turn out to be a pretty decent man, his beginning left me ready to just smack him.  Maybe I was a little protective towards Viola, I don't know.  She was a sweetheart who I thought needed a gentleman, but she helped Travis see what kind of gentleman he could be.  And he showed Viola that tart can be a good thing at times.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Review

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 626
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodread rating: 4.71 stars
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Source: Hardcover/bought


Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

My Thoughts:

Whoa.  Just... whoa.  Okay, first off, I'm not sure I can write this without spoilers.  So much happens in this book, I'm not sure where I can go with this review and not spoil something.  So, here I go...

Feyre was something special as a human, but as an immortal, she has Become something phenomenal.  Being Made High Fae by all seven of the High Lords of Prythian has left her with some of their power, and she soon learns its not just a little residual power.  Wanting to train and hone that power, she asks her soon-to-be husband if he or Lucien will teach her.  Scared of losing her if any of the other High Lords discover she has any of their powers, Tamlin puts her on lock down.  Triggering one of her unknown powers, she is then rescued by Morrigan and Rhysand, bringing her to the Night Court.

Rhysand is a complex character.  There are so many things the fae {and mortals} believe he is - cruel, uncaring, merciless, cold, Amarantha's whore.  Most of his Court {other than the Court of Dreamers} believe this is him - cold and calculating.  The Rhys we get to know in this book cares so much, it will make your heart ache.  He is beautiful and deep, and cares so much for his people, his true people in the hidden  city of Velaris.

The chemistry between Rhys and Feyre is a simmering creature in the background of the whole story, coming to quite an explosive apex.  About halfway through the book, I was rooting for them and their future together.  While Tamiln was good in his own way, no one likes the one they love suffocating them under the guise of protection.  Rhys was freedom, at the very least, and was exactly what Feyre needed when she needed it.

Watching Feyre come into her powers and seeing how strong she was becoming was one of my favorite parts throughout the book.  Her spirit was so strong as a human, and as an immortal High Fae, her body is beginning to match it.  While Tamlin wanted to stifle that, Rhys helped her hone them, teaching her as much as he could so she could defend herself, fight for herself.

Oh, and Tamlin... I just want to throttle his handsome neck.  He is so blinded by what he wants, he will do anything, anything to get it.  And Lucien's loyalty might just get him killed {but, please, no, not after the revelation at the end of the book!}, but I can't help but still love him!

While ACOTAR was amazing, I definitely enjoyed ACOMAF much, much more!  Tamlin was maybe a little too "vanilla" in the first book, but he went overboard with his alpha-male protective stance when it comes to Feyre.  If you are a fan of Maas' Throne of Glass series, you'll love this one {or so I'm told - I've only read ToG, but I'm planning on remedying that in the next few months!}.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas | Review

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J Maas
Pages: 421
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodread Rating: 4.29 stars
Published: May 5, 2015
Source: Hardcover/bought


Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

My Thoughts:

I was  a little reluctant picking up this book.  Everyone was raving about how amazing it was {for quite a while now}.  And while I'd read Sarah J Maas' Throne of Glass when it was published about 5 years ago {and really loved it}, I was hesitant to pick this one up.  I remember loving Maas' ToG, but for some reason I never actually picked up any of the others in that series, and that's kind of stuck with me as far as reading A Court of Thorns and Roses.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I got sucked into this book!

Maas gives us a pretty vivid description of Feyre's life, and it's rough.  Her sisters act entitled, even though they are lucky to survive through each winter with whatever Feyre can find to provide for them.  Her father, at best, is absent.  After being forced to flee, they've settled outside a small town, where Feyre can hunt to provide for them and try to keep them safe from they faeries over the wall.

Hunting one day leads Feyre to be taken by over the wall to the world of faerie as retribution for killing a wolf in order to spare the lives of her family.  But, instead of being treated as a prisoner, Feyre is taken in as more like a guest.  She has a fae lady's maid, charming chambers and free roam of most the mansion and grounds, and tends to dine with two very interesting fae gentlemen, Tamlin and Lucien.  Even though that means setting aside her hunting garb for dresses at times, Feyre still has her simmering wit and hunter's mind.

While Lucien seems to be more someone Feyre can converse with {only because he's as guarded as she is}, Tamlin sneaks into her thoughts more and more often, and after time Feyre discovers her curiosity of him has turned into interest in him {of course, like any good hate-to-love story it had to start out with the hate first!}.

While this book is advertised as young adult, it read more like New Adult with some of the steaminess and the gore.  And the steaminess {oh, did I already mention that?}.  I got back and forth between my like of books dealing with Fae, but this is definitely a book I like!  Since I purchased this knowing full well there are two more books out in the series {and I believe plans for at least a few more!}, I was expecting a massive cliffhanger.  Color me pink with pleasant surprise, because there wasn't!  While I'm excited to see where this story goes, I'm happy I didn't feel like I was hanging on a ledge, desperate for the next book.