Monday, June 29, 2015

The Perfect Bargain (How to Marry a Highlander #1) by Julia London

The Perfect Bargain (How to Marry a Highlander #1) by Julia London

This is an adult contemporary romance novel (Rated NC-17)

♥♥♥1/2
(Three and a half Scottish Hearts)


Book Summary

American lass seeks brawny Scot...

As if being newly single isn’t brutal enough, Sloane Chatfield's friends are getting obnoxious about setting her up. When Sloane insists she's waiting for a certain sexy fictional Highlander to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland to find her a new boyfriend. She’d rather have a root canal. But if she can find a Highland hunk to “break her heart” before her friends arrive…

In a remote Highland village, Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the family pub afloat. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there's an opinionated American lass parked at his best table, driving him mad. But then Sloane asks Galen to be her pretend Highland boyfriend...and offers him enough money to save the pub. It’s only for a few days, he figures. What's the worst that could happen?



My Review

So I was asked if I wanted an ARC about a girl who goes to Scotland and finds love with a Scotsman or Highlander, something like that. I don’t read blurbs (because most give way too much away) so I was like heck yeah. I love all things Scotland. Hell, I was in Scotland last year in the summer.
Then, I started reading and the writing was really pretty good. I’m enjoying the first few pages when disaster strikes.

Let me set this up to you. Me and my friends LOVE LOVE LOVE Outlander the show. Hell, I’ve read the first two books, but Jamie is a bit of an obsession of mine, so I had to stop in book 3 if I ever wanted to read a different book in my lifetime (they are super long). And I heard about this book where the protagonist goes to Scotland to find Jamie Fraser. Personally, I was turned off by the idea and told my friends that was a cheesy way to write a book and make especially since I heard the author asked Diana Gabaldon read the book. I thought that was pretty messed up. Anyway…
So I’m reading this book and Jamie Fraser’s name actually comes up. I’m like, there is no freaking way the book I swore I never read was in my hands. Because in this story, the girl tells her friends she’s found Jamie Fraser.

To make a long story short, this isn’t the book I heard about. That book is called Finding Fraser. But honestly, two books with the similar premise about an iconic CURRENT fictional character??? What are the odds?

Anyway, I almost DNF this book. But I figured; let me give it a shot because I got the ARC.
In the end, the book had two main problems. One the premises has been overdone so many times. Let’s pretend to date for whatever reason and then we end up falling in love. And that isn’t such a bad thing because everything in romance has been done. It’s all about the author’s spin on it. But I think had the author taken Jamie Fraser’s name out of the story and just went to Scotland because and the man she meets just happens to look like a book character she loves (never naming him outright) and describe him without using the name Jamie Fraser twenty times or more in the book, it would have been better.

But my biggest complaint with the story was the butchering of the Scottish language and culture. The author spelled out words spoken in dialogue phonetically when the characters spoke. Quite frankly, I felt offended and I’m not Scottish. When people write about characters with French and British accents, they don’t used made up words to have the reader hear the accents. So why do it with the Scots.

Plus, donna is not how the Scottish pronounce their word for don’t. It’s dinna or dinnae. And donna is used so much it’s distracting. And other words are used and spelled wrong but donna is the biggest offender. Having spent time in Scotland, I can attest. And a little online research by the author would have gone a long way.

Now, if the author had the dialogue correct, then had the character muse to herself it sounded like I lass, I donna know. When she would have written first, Aye lass, a dinna ken. Then I would say okay, she’s used the words correctly, but she wants the reader to hear it in their head.

Anyway, with my two big problems with the story, the author still managed to have me care about the sexist Galen and the silly almost stupid Sloane. I think had those other two things been changed in the book, I would have given it closer to a five-star rating.

Overall, it’s okay.

My book boyfriend Galen. (Since the author wants us to think the character looks like Jamie Fraser, I won’t be creative. I’ll bite off of STARZ’s version.)



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Friday, June 26, 2015

Conscience (Bellator Saga #2) by Cecilia London

Conscience (Bellator Saga #2) by Cecilia London

This is an adult dystopian novel (Rated NC-17)

♥♥♥♥1/2
(Four and a Half Hearts)


Book Summary


An escape plan foiled….

A determined woman….

One last tiny sliver of hope….

Jack will find me.

The Fed wants answers. And Caroline is determined not to provide them. They pull out all the stops, testing her sanity, testing her strength, testing her humanity.

Jack will find me.

Subject to cruel and merciless treatment at the hands of a government she once trusted, Caroline clings to her sole lifeline, her only chance at maintaining her tenuous hold on reality: her memories of her husband, Jack, her children, Marguerite and Sophie, and the friends who mean the world to her.

Jack will find me.

But what happens when hope starts to fade? How long until her interrogators cross over into the unspeakable sadism she fears ? How long before she finally breaks apart?

Part Two of a Six Part Saga. Conscience (approximately 120,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first book in the Bellator Saga, Dissident. All books in the series end in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including graphic violence, explicit (consensual) sex and light BDSM, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes raw, dark, and gritty plot. 

It's free for a time, here are the links.


My Book Boyfriend

This author has me wrapped around her finger. I’m aching to get my hands on the next installment. In this one, things change. The story is still going forward from the past and the present. And Jack gets dreamer by the second.

There are certain parts of this book that may be uncomfortable for some. But it’s certainly not the darkest thing I’ve read. It doesn’t even come close. It’s not dark like say Captive in the Dark, Bang, Consequences, etc. So don’t get scared. But there are things that will make you squirm.

Although we learn more about how Jack and Caroline got to this point, there certainly are unanswered questions like where will we go from here. But that’s a question at the end of every book in a series except the last.

This book was also sexy as hell, I’ll just warn you. This author surprised me with that and that’s a good thing.

Overall, although I categorize this as dystopian, it’s not a “save the world” kind of book even though in a small way it is. It’s more that the world is still the same but there is such a fundamental change in the way the government is run, it’s worth the dystopian categorization. But it’s as much as a love story/thriller as well.

My book boyfriend Jack.


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Dissident (Bellator Saga #1) by Cecilia London

Dissident (Bellator Saga #1) by Cecilia London

This is an adult dystopian novel (Rated NC-17)

♥♥♥♥
(Four Dissident Hearts)


Book Summary

She once was important. Now she’s considered dangerous.

In a new America where almost no one can be trusted, Caroline lies unconscious in a government hospital as others decide her fate. She is a political dissident, wanted for questioning by a brutal regime that has come to power in a shockingly easy way. As she recovers from her injuries, all she has are her memories. And once she wakes up, they may not matter anymore.

Dissident is part contemporary romance and part political thriller, with elements of romantic suspense and speculative fiction. Told mostly in flashback, it details the budding romantic relationship between our heroine Caroline and Jack, the silver fox playboy who tries to win her heart. 

The Bellator Saga is a six part series. Each part is a full-length novel between 60,000-120,000 words and ends in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This saga contains adult situations, including non-gratuitous violence, explicit (consensual) sex, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes dark and gritty plot (particularly in part two).


My Book Boyfriend

I really really liked this series. I had a few problems with the story, nothing that the plot didn’t overcome. I was captured in what would happen next despite that we know how things are going to end up. The story is told with flashes between the past and present. Even the ending that gives us more clues to the future, I still wanted to know what happened in the middle.

It’s going to be hard to wait for the next part, yet I’m anxious to get there.

The characters were real and believable. I wish that it was told in first person, but I don’t think I missed out on much even though it was told in the third person.

What I loved the most about this story is that I haven’t often read a story immersed in the political atmosphere. It isn’t that this book is staunchly political, but the two protagonists have political careers.
We are left with many answers but a bunch of questions. Some of the plot conflicts are subjects that have graced the news, but no one has ever thought would truly happen. I’m curious to see how this author’s mind works and what she has plans for us with this story. I’m waiting with baited breath.

I get review request all the time, but this one really piqued my interest and paid off. I’m a new fan that can’t wait for more.

My book boyfriend Jack.


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Armageddon (The Fallen #5) by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Armageddon (The Fallen #5) by Thomas E. Sniegoski

This is a young adult paranormal fantasy novel (Rated PG-13)

♥♥♥
(Three Rising Hearts)


Book Summary

Only Aaron and his fellow Nephilim can protect the world from Satan’s wrath in this riveting finale to the New York Times bestselling The Fallen series.

Satan is determined to create his own Hell on Earth and has unleashed unfathomable chaos into the world. Cut off from Heaven, humanity’s only hope for salvation rests with eighteen-year-old Aaron and the other Nephilim who fight by his side. These angelic warriors will protect civilization and restore God’s favor no matter the cost. But there can be only one champion—and defeat is eternal.

The battle lines have been drawn. Armageddon is here.


My Book Boyfriend


I was left underwhelmed with this one. I had so many high hopes after the first book. But it felt like the author kept trying to steer Vilma down another path. In fact, we learn that the path had been sanctioned by someone. It seemed to distract me from the rest of what was going on because I was going to be pissed if it happened.

Then the ending battle was pretty good. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t over right away. I liked how sacrifices were made and certain things were overcome. However, I agree with one reviewer how said Satan had it a little too easy early on. I though the Nephilim would play a large role than they did. I will say poor Cameron came off as a total weakling in this one.

And lastly, the ending felt slightly unfinished. Especially with the Vilma thing. What happened to the other person in that scenario? They were there (I’m purposefully not using singular pronouns for spoiler sake.)

Also, what about the humans??? How do they feel after all of this? What is the world really like? We only get a glimpse of the fighters but not the people.

Anyway, it wasn’t a bad ending, just slightly disappointed.

My book boyfriend Aaron.



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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Sorceress of His Own (The Gifted Ones #1) by Dianne Duvall

A Sorceress of His Own (The Gifted Ones #1) by Dianne Duvall
This is an adult steampunk novel (historical with a paranormal twist) (Rated NC-17)
♥♥♥♥
(Four Gifted Hearts)


Book Summary
From the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Immortal Guardians series comes an enchanting new series full of romance, danger, and loyalty: The Gifted OnesSince the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet only the wisewoman seems invariably at ease in his presence. Perhaps because she garners the same fear in others that he does himself.

For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon's side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed--or cursed--with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.

All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon's life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything--even the wrath of his king--to be with her.


My Review
I must say I’m not sure what I expected with this book other than it was written by one of my favorite authors. I really like historical fiction (which this was) and steampunk (which this kind of was). However with the link to her other series, I was expecting more paranormal aspects than I got.

When I think gifted one, I think of this author’s version of vampires which wasn’t the case at all in this book. Other than a short visit by two of her other series characters, I wouldn’t have linked this book at all to that series. Maybe as we go further the mythology will link up, but so far, we didn’t get modified vamps. We have “witch or mythical type powers” (psychic, healing, telekinesis, etc with no blood intake).

Then the story was super slow to develop. It’s always hard in a new world to set the stage. But I felt the beginning lacked a bang for me to grasp onto. If not for loyalty to the author, I might have given up.

However, all in all, it was a good story once it got going. Lord Dillion is so dreamy and alpha. Just the right mix. I can’t wait to read more and me thinks Dillion’s brother and Alyssa’s cousin, just saying.

Audio Review

Kristen Potter does a great job with narration.

Overall, well worth the read or listen.

My book boyfriend is Dillion.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dead Ice (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #24) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Dead Ice (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #24) by Laurell K. Hamilton
This is an adult paranormal romance novel (Rated NC-17)
 ♥♥♥♥
(Four Sexy Hearts)
Book Summary

Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancĂ©e.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .



My Review
I didn’t read Jason because of the many reviews. I don’t normally go decide based on reviews. But in this case due to the price for what I was getting, I needed to know. And I decided after, I didn’t want to only read about an orgy while talking relationship advice. I’d hoped we would get more of Jason’s story. But for the price of the book and audible, I’ll take the advice of the reviews and stay away. If it ever goes on audible or book sale, I might pick it up.
So, I remember all the things I didn’t like about this series while reading. The first thing is the repeating of the same information. While the first time to give past information as a reminder to the reader is okay. The seventh and eighth reminder in the same book gets annoying. Also, the four chapter discussion about a relationship (talking about beating a dead horse) is also annoying.
I have to say the downfall in this story is not an overabundance of sex. (There are only 2 sex scenes in the entire book, IKR). It is the talk me to death about relationships. There is an opportunity to really go with the mystery/crime solving portion of the book. But it just never takes hold of the story and gets lost in the relationship minutia.
And I’m sorry. I’m a little selfish. And I don’t often say this, but I didn’t want the reality that the many guys might want to add another girl to the mix. I get it. It’s only fair. But one of the few times you’ll hear me say this, I’m like, this is fiction. I want all the guys to myself (and Anita, lol). No more girls allowed.
Still, I heart so many of the characters, I found myself still enjoying it just enough that I could give it four stars and feel good about my rating.
Audio Review
Kimberly Alexis does a stupendous job with this series. I can’t imagine listening to anyone else do it. And I have and thank god she’s back.
My book boyfriend Nicky.
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Valhalla (Lexy Vaughan & Steven Macaulay #1) by Robert J. Mrazek

Valhalla (Lexy Vaughan & Steven Macaulay #1) by Robert J. Mrazek

This is an adult mystery thriller novel (Rated PG-13)

♥♥♥♥
(Four Valhalla Hearts)


Book Summary

Along the Greenland ice cap, an expedition team makes an astounding discovery. Buried five hundred feet below the ice cap is the wreckage of an ancient ship—and nine perfectly preserved Vikings. Rune markings indicate it went missing in 1016 BC.

Energized by the find, retired Air Force general Steven Macaulay assembles the foremost scholars of Norse archaeology, including Harvard academic and master decoder Lexy Vaughan. But the mission is violently sabotaged—because this discovery holds the key to a mystery that will change the human race.

To put together the pieces of the puzzle, Macaulay and Lexy plunge headlong into a web of chaos and betrayal—all the while hunted by a covert primeval society that will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

 
My Review

I love getting back to the books I enjoyed before romance took over most of my reading pleasure. Although there is a bit of romance in this story, it’s obviously not the main plot more of an extension of what comes natural in the story.
 
Also, this story is so fade to black, so if you like smexy, there is none of that going on.
However, if you enjoy a thriller this story has history and adventure, danger and intrigue. I’ve read a review that suggested there are supernatural aspects going on. However, I’ve found none of that and wonder if that hater reviewer and I read the same story.

My only problem with this book is the ending. Where I went in thinking this is a standalone, the ending left me wondering. First let me say, there isn’t a cliffy. Not a true one. The only thing I’ve thought if it is the ending there would be more of a wrap up with the characters. So when it ended, I’m like really, I didn’t get a “true” ending. However, I then find out that the series of adventures will go on. So I don’t need the “wrap up” so to speak. The easiest way to explain is I expected an epilogue. But if it’s not over, no epilogue can be given.

Anyway, I look forward to continuing the journey with these characters.
Audio Review
Christopher Lane does a good job with narration. I didn’t have trouble following him.

My book boyfriend Steven.

 
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Off Base by Tessa Bailey & Sophie Jordan

Off Base by Tessa Bailey & Sophie Jordan
This is an adult contemporary romance novel (Rated NC-17)
 ♥♥♥♥1/2
 (Four and a Half Heroic Hearts)
Book Summary


New York Times bestselling authors Tessa Bailey and Sophie Jordan team up for a collaboration featuring two sexy contemporary romance novellas. Total combined pages: 285 pages. OFF BASE: Kenna and Beck

By Tessa Bailey

A welcome home he never expected...and will never forget...

When Kenna Sutton is tasked with driving home newly returned Beck “True Blue” Collier, she expects the strategic Army mastermind to be a pasty number cruncher. Never at a loss for words, Kenna is nonetheless rendered speechless by the gorgeous, inexperienced and tightly-wound Army major that lands in her passenger seat. Outraged by Beck’s lack of a welcome home after seven long years overseas, Kenna takes matters into her own hands, giving Beck something he’s only ever fantasized about in his bunk.

Beck has never shied away from a test of will and Kenna gives new meaning to the word challenge. One problem? Kenna’s father is the lieutenant general presenting Beck with the Silver Star and Beck is determined to treat Kenna with the respect she deserves, even if her eyes beg Beck to act out his most secret desires with her. Desires he's always been told were the work of the devil. But how long can one lonely, starving man hope to resist the woman he craves?

OFF BASE: Huntley and Cullen

By Sophie Jordan

Being a good girl has its drawbacks...

Huntley Collier, an emergency room nurse and all-around do-gooder, is tired of living in the friend zone. Cullen Brooks was given the job of babysitting Huntley when her brother – his best friend – deployed. But their friendly coffeehouse hangouts and TV marathons leave her wanting more. When one crazy night leads to too many drinks and an explosion of long-denied lust, Huntley's dreams become a reality. And reality is one hot, wild place she never wants to leave.

But only a good girl can bring down a bad boy...

Known as Sullen Cullen around Black Rock, Cullen Brooks doesn’t have many friends, but Huntley is one of them … and despite his decidedly unfriendly fantasies of the curvy blonde, she is far too sweet for his darker tastes. Keeping his hands off is easier said than done, however, when demure, little Huntley responds to his touch like the wildcat he never expected...and can't stop pursuing, despite his better judgment. But when Cullen suddenly faces losing her, will this bad boy risk it all to keep his good girl?

Tessa Bailey's alpha heroes will make you combust!" -Laura Kaye, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Sophie Jordan infuses all of her books with memorable characters, sharp wit, smoldering sexual tension and heart melting romance. It doesn't matter what genre of romance she's writing, if Sophie Jordan writes it I will read it." - Jay Crownover, New York Times Bestselling Author
My Review
First let me say that because I didn’t read the blurb, I had no idea this book was comprised of two stories. Yeah… but I don’t like reading blurbs because most often they give away far too much.
So for the first story with Kenna and Beck, talk about Hot, Hot, Hot. There is a twist with this romance I won’t tell you but it just made the book that much hotter. This is my first read by this author and I can tell you it won’t be my last.
Surprisingly in less than 150 pages, I felt like I knew the characters very well when it ended and wanted more. In fact, I think there is more story to tell with this one and I wonder if we will get more. However, with that said, there wasn’t a cliffy. The story ended naturally but you know how it is when you like characters, you want more.
My only complaints about the Kenna and Beck story had to do with the twist. I think some things were harder for me to buy because of it. Let me just say the learning curve was off the charts. And the story came dangerously close to insta love. Thank the heavens the word wasn’t used after three days. That would have killed it for me. I did however buy the attraction and could see how these two could fall madly (notice I avoided the L word) for each other in a short time.
Story two with Huntley and Cullen.
I’ve read this author before but only her young adult series. But this author can write the red hot stuff with no trouble.
This story is a friends to lovers story. I love those especially when written well. I also think it’s easier in this situation for the L word to come up in a matter of days because they have history.
 I also liked how this story overlapped a little of the previous story but them moved forward.  Did I mention this story was red hot?
Overall, these stories didn’t recreate the wheel, but it did put a fresh perspective with interesting characters you actually care about in a story you want to read. There were twists in both that didn’t take the typical course correction and I enjoyed that as well.
If you want a solid, sexy story told by season authors, pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.
Beck
 Cullen
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