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Review – Scythe – Neal Schusterman

scytheScythe
Author: Neal Schusterman
Series: #1 in the Arc of a Scythe series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Review:
There is no doubt in my mine that Neal Schusterman writes some of the most through-provoking YA dystopia that I’ve read in recent years. It might not be as viscerally blood and gore like the Hunger Games; but he manages to impact the reader in ways that will make you cringe just from the power of the writing. There is one scene from his first book that I read (Unwind) that to this day makes me shiver when I think of it. When an advertisement for his newest book, Scythe, popped up in my Goodreads feed – it was a done deal that I was going to be getting my grubby little paws on it (and huge thanks to my local library for having such great librarians who buy awesome books like that).

What would you do in a world where there was no death? no cancer, no car accidents? where you could opt to reset your life and start over? where if you did “die” (or go splat) that your body would heal itself? that is the world that Schusterman has written about in Scythe. Yet, in any kind of world, there must be some form of population control and that is where the Scythe’s come in. Scythe’s are those special people who have been trained in the art of taking lives – do they do it by poison, or by beheading, by stabbing or some other form of death. There are even Scythe’s who specialize in mass death…The first book in the Scythe series is the story of 2 teenagers who are apprentices to become a Scythe and their journey through the process.

In typical fashion, Schusterman raises many questions – the main ones for me focused around the idea of causing purposeful death? when you don’t call it murder in the societal sense. How would you pick who to kill? and in what method? how would you ensure that you aren’t focusing too much on any specific gender/race/religion when choosing your victims? In between the training that the apprentice Scythe’s undergoing, is the hint of a revolution in the core of the Scythedom – there is a reason behind the quote – ultimately power corrupts ultimately (John Dalberg-Acton) – what is more powerful than holding the life and death of an entire world in your hands?

I will admit that I was left with many questions after finishing Scythe – but that just means, I’ll have to wait impatiently for the next installment. If you are looking for a thought-provoking dystopia with death being forefront, then Scythe might be the book for you.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Crossing Hearts – Kimberly Kincaid

crossing-heartsCrossing Hearts
Author: Kimberly Kincaid
Series: #1 in the Cross Creek series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Book Won in a Giveaway Held by Author

Description:
Hunter Cross has no regrets. Having left his football prospects behind the day he graduated high school, he’s happy to carry out his legacy on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah. But when a shoulder injury puts him face-to-face with the high school sweetheart who abandoned town—and him—twelve years ago, Hunter’s simple life gets a lot more complicated.

Emerson Montgomery has secrets. Refusing to divulge why she left her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team, she struggles to readjust to life in the hometown she left behind. The more time she spends with Hunter, the more Emerson finds herself wanting to trust him with the diagnosis of MS that has turned her world upside down.

But revealing secrets comes with a price. Can Hunter and Emerson rekindle their past love? Or will the realities of the present—and the trust that goes with them—burn that bridge for good?

Review:
So I actually read Crossing Hearts close to a month ago – it was officially the first book that I read in 2017 but since it had a release date of today (which means, Happy Book Birthday dance), I decided to wait to post my review. But as in typical Kimberly Kincaid fashion – I just end up gushing over her books! I swear – I haven’t read a bad one by her yet and Crossing Hearts just made my heart go all squishy inside.

I’ve never hidden the fact that reunited love/second chance love is a favorite romance trope of mine – combine that with small town romance and rancher romance (with a women in a kick ass career) and yes – there was little that I didn’t love about how Crossing Hearts came to be. I will say that sometimes family drama in small town romances kind of bugs me and Emerson’s family kind of ticked me off a bit – but at the same time, since she wasn’t all the forthcoming with her medical issues – I don’t blame them entirely either. It is proof positive that bad news only gets worse over time – especially when it is being withheld from people who love you.

One of the things I have always appreciated about Kimberly’s writing is the level of research and detail that she incorporates into her stories. I’m not sure who she worked with to get all the details on being a physical therapist, or how MS affects the body – but you could tell from the writing that she was able to meld the information that she gained from different sources into such a well-developed, well-rounded character. And as for Hunter…well, what wasn’t there to love – former high school athlete, willing to sacrifice his dreams to stay at home to help his family out – yeah, i’m gushing. I can’t wait for the next two books in the series and to see his brother’s HEA’s!

4.5 stars for Crossing Hearts and unfortunately not, I have to start the tedious wait time for a new book by Kimberly (which just sucks!)

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Dirty Like Us – Jaine Diamond

dirty-like-usDirty Like Us
Author: Jaine Diamond
Series: #.5 in the Dirty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Maggie Omura has never been a gambling woman. As assistant manager of Dirty, the hottest rock band on the planet, she brings order to the lives of four crazy-ass rock stars.
But when the band lands in Vegas, a streak of bad luck lands Maggie in a bind–and in the penthouse suite, with the last man she’d ever want for a roommate.
Zane Traynor, lead singer of Dirty. Rock god. Sex god. Total nightmare for women.
And the only man who’d make Maggie a proposal so insane it just might work.

Review
A couple of months ago, I was given to opportunity to review the first book in Jaine Diamond’s Dirty series and enjoyed it so much, that when she offered me the chance to review the prequel for the series I agreed. While a short read (it only took me an hour or so to read), I was sucked in (while is probably why it was such as quick read). This is technically the prequel of the series, however, the author recommends that you actually read books 1 first to get more of the vibe of the band and the characters in it.

I’ll readily admit that I honestly don’t entirely remember Zane from Dirty Like Me, aside from the fact that he was the lead singer. Probably because I was so obsessed with Jesse and Katie…anyways – Dirty Like Us is Zane and Maggie’s story and like true rock star fashion…what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. One of the things I’ve discovered that I like about Ms Diamond’s writing is her ability to make the reader feel like they are in the setting of the book – I felt like I was in the hotel room with Zane partying and with him and Maggie hooking up in Vegas.

While a short read, it was a complete story with a happy ending. Overall, I gave Dirty Like Us 3.5 stars and can’t wait to see where Ms Diamond goes with the series next. Dirty Like Us is currently available as a free read through the authors website (click on the title link)

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

Review – Sweet Serendipity – Jamie Farrell

sweet-serendipitySweet Serendipity
Author: Jamie Farrell
Series: Part of Kindle Worlds tied to Hope Falls series (Melanie Shawn)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Wyatt Owens has had a crush on his best friend’s little sister for as long as he can remember. So when he unexpectedly finds her at his buddy’s vacation home – naked, no less! – when he arrives for a week of hanging in Hope Falls, he can’t decide if this is his lucky day, or if he’s in for the longest week of his life.

Skye Ryder has never much liked Wyatt. He’s bossy and disapproving and he never does anything wrong. But she’s also never been alone with him before. Nor has she ever noticed how sexy he can be, especially when he’s showing off his military-issue muscles and flashing those rare smiles. She’s not looking for love, but the man she hated is suddenly the man she can’t resist.

Review:
It’s been a while since I’ve read and/or reviewed one of Jamie’s books – mostly because she is a good friend of mine and I struggle to sometimes remain impartial on my reviews (because I could go total fan girl). But when she mentioned that she had been asked to participate in Melanie Shawn’s Kindle Worlds novellas for the Hope Falls series – I was intrigued (and even though I haven’t read any of the Hope Falls series, I’m now planning on it). If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Worlds, authors license the use of their fictional world to other authors to write novellas in – stories need to stay to the same vibe of the original series (so no vampires in a historical romance world) – I haven’t read many of these Kindle Worlds books, although I’ve been intrigued – so Sweet Serendipity seemed the right way to dip my toe in.

Not only did Sweet Serendipity feature a romance trope that I love (friend falling for best friends sibling), but it also featured a smexy military and an adorable, yet slightly klutzy young boy. Having known Jamie for several years (and her kids through her various social media postings) – I have no doubt that some of Nicolas’s adventures may have been inspired by her own kids. I love that when she features kids in her stories, they aren’t just there for added kid drama, but rather that they contribute to the story in often significant ways (in this instance, some of Wyatt and Skye’s relationship was due in part to Nicholas wanting them both with him during certain events in the story). Skye’s backstory was intriguing and her ex was (for lack of a better term) a dick – so seeing her struggle a bit with that as she and Wyatt developed a relationship make the book feel more real to me.

If you are looking for a small town romance, with a hot military hero and a (fairly) stable headed heroine – then Sweet Serendipity might be a book for you to try. You can purchase Sweet Serendipity from Amazon.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Dirty Like Me – Jaine Diamond

dirty-like-meDirty Like Me
Author: Jaine Diamond
Series: #1 in the Dirty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Struggling barista Katie Bloom doesn’t even know who Jesse Mayes is until she inadvertently wins the coveted role of sex kitten in his hot new music video. But by the time she’s in bed with him, she knows his reputation.

Love maker. Heartbreaker.

Making out with a stranger in front of a camera crew isn’t how Katie imagined herself getting over a broken heart, but when Jesse touches her, sparks fly. The sex is fake but the chemistry is real, and soon the steamy video is blazing up the charts.

Then Jesse makes Katie an irresistible offer: act as his girlfriend for six weeks while he promotes his new album. The only catch? Their sizzling make-out sessions will be for the cameras only.

Which is fine with Katie, since she’s not about to trust her heart to rock’s most legendary lover. Her body? Maybe…

Review:
It seemed kind of like fate that the same day I started reading Dirty Like Me, that I saw the facebook video featuring auditions for the live show of Magic Mike…trust me when I say this video is worth your time…Magic Mike Live Audition YouTube or Magic Mike Live on the Ellen Show. Anyways, when I picked up Dirty Like Me, I had some great visuals in my head after I read the opening (and found myself fanning my face a bit because it definitely got a bit steamy in the car where I was reading).

So early on in the book, not only was I drooling over the cover (because just look at it), I had a solid visual of Jesse and Katie’s first(ish) meeting and it was a relationship of convenience…yeah, I knew I was either going to have a great reading experience or I’d eat my hat (or is it cover, since I was in uniform while I was reading?) One of the things that drew me to Katie early on was that she was independent but at the same time, wasn’t afraid to ask for help if she needed it (and had a solid family support system too). It was something that was slightly different from many of my recent reads when characters have needed help but were too stubborn to ask for it.

To say that the hotness of Dirty Like Me was chartable would be a lie…there were so many times when the chemistry between Katie and Jesse was like a volcanic explosion. But the smexy scenes (both the UST build-up and the actual scenes themselves) weren’t overdone and felt natural (and not forced or overpowering the rest of the story). Not only that, but the whole traveling with the band portion of the story was well done – there was drama but wasn’t drama for drama sake! If you are in the mood for a rock-star romance with the right touch of smexyness and unresolved sexual tension, then Dirty Like Me might be a book for you.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Wild Zone – Skye Jordan

wild-zoneWild Zone
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #4 in the Rough Riders Hockey series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Tate “The Saint” Donovan’s jaded outlook really makes him more of a devil’s advocate. Ever since he discovered his ex-wife doing more in their bedroom than rooting for the home team, he’s given up on finding The One. In fact, he’s given up on finding Any One. So he isn’t surprised when his teammate’s engagement party is one mishap away from going up in flames—until a sexy, free spirit whisks in from Paris and drags the party from the fire. She’s whimsical, wild, and oh so wrong, but her breezy, freestyle attitude makes her utterly irresistible. Tate’s halo slips. He takes a walk on the wild side. And discovers wrong has never felt so right.

With big plans on the horizon, Olivia’s laissez faire attitude toward men is a perfect pairing. She’s drawn to Tate’s wounded soul, and the protective warrior beneath his brooding mask intrigues her…right into bed. Olivia quickly realizes the possessive passion he brings to the bedroom is like nothing she’s ever experienced, and her feelings for Tate turns her take-it-or-leave-it style love life on its head.

With her return to Paris imminent and his grueling hockey season approaching, Olivia and Tate must face the possibility that they are destined to be nothing more than star-crossed lovers.

Review:
I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I have binge read a series (and by binge read, I mean, reading all the available books in the series within about a week and a half time), but I did just that with Skye Jordan’s Rough Rider’s Hockey series. I randomly grabbed the first book in the series from Kindle Unlimited when I was looking for something non-sci-fi (because I had been on a huge alien/sci-fi reading binge) and I had read a couple of her books before and decided what the heck. The first book was great for breaking up the monotony of my daily metro ride the work (yay DC metro that breaks down on a regular basis) and I quickly read the next two books in the series. Then to my great surprise, I received a review request from Skye to read the fourth book in the series (and I totally jumped on the opportunity).

While I loved all the books in the series, Wild Zone was probably the most emotional read for me. I’ll admit to not always being a fan of love (or lust) at first sight romance tropes, but for some reason, it worked for me in Wild Zone. I loved Tate and Olivia (Liv) from the first mistaken meeting to the roller-coaster of their relationship. But Wild Zone was so much more than just a romance – the family dynamics that existed within Liv’s family (between her, her sister and her mother) just made me so sad and frustrated at the same time. I spent a good portion of the book hating her mother (and that didn’t resolve itself with the end of the book) – even though I had an idea of what was going to happen with her family, I was praying that I was going to be wrong. But alas, I wasn’t…I debated actually throwing my kindle at one stage (but I didn’t because my precious 🙂 )

The quick blooming romance between Tate and Liv, even with all the drama from her family, hit my happy buttons. Especially, since having seen him in previous books and how he had been screwed over by his ex-wife…I just wanted him to find his HEA. They just played well of each other – you could tell that Liv needed to find her home again and while she hadn’t expected to find that with Tate, that was what he was to her. And seeing Tate’s interactions not only with his teammates, but with various kids throughout the story just gave me warm and fuzzies. Through-out this series, I’ve loved how Ms Jordan hasn’t shyed away from including children as supporting characters.

I gave Wild Zone a solid 4 stars and kind of hope that she’ll write some more books in this series – not only because it features my hometown(ish) of Washington DC, but just because I love her writing style for this series so much.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Worth the Risk – Jamie Beck

worth-the-riskWorth the Risk
Author: Jamie Beck
Series: #3 in the St James series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
When Jackson St. James decided that six weeks in Vermont’s Green Mountains would help him get his life together, he didn’t anticipate replacing his craving for whiskey with a craving for his alluring new landlord, Gabby. Now, instead of prioritizing his sobriety and the resolution of the lawsuit threatening his business, he’s making excuses to spend time with the spunky young landscaper whose candor is more than a little addictive.

Gabby Bouchard refuses to let her pill-popping mother and unreliable baby daddy turn her into a cynic, so she doesn’t fight her attraction to her enigmatic new tenant. Although Jackson’s smile rarely reaches his eyes, his generosity and dependability make her willing to overlook his demons. But once she convinces him to give in to temptation, Gabby’s jealous ex threatens to disrupt the life she has built for herself and her son.

With so much at stake, Gabby and Jackson must decide if love is worth the risk.

Review:
While Jamie Beck is a new to me author (on the reading front), I had previously come across her books in my recommendations on Amazon (I had just never quite jumped on the opportunity…which basically means, I’m an idiot!) – so when I was approached by a publicist to participate in a book tour for her new release, I jumped on the opportunity. Coincidently, my plan to read Worth the Risk, also fell on the same weekend as a planned 24 hour read-a-thon and knowing that I would likely need something compelling in the early hours of the morning, I held onto the book until then. And boy, it didn’t disappoint…I can safely say that it got me through the early hours of the morning (somewhere between 3 and 4am) when all I wanted to do was curl up and take a nap.

Its hard to decide where to begin in writing this review – from the total cover love that I had (I mean, I would love to live in a place with scenery like that) to the vivid descriptions of Vermont to the interactions between Gabby, Jackson, her father and her son…this book was just the whole package. As a reader, I enjoyed how the author tackled the topics of drug addiction and alcoholism – it made the characters seem more real because it showed how flawed people can be and still find love – rather than the need to be perfect. It just goes to show that sometimes love is worth the risk – what does it take to be willing to step off that cliff and fall in love with someone who may have a dark past, or potentially a dark future? the risk to stick your neck out after being hurt and to try again? every day of life is a risk – small or large and its the risk that we take that let’s us live the lives we that we do…but anyways, let’s get away from the philosophical musings…

Before I had even finished Worth the Risk, I had logged onto amazon and using my trusty Kindle Unlimited subscription – had borrowed the previous books in the St James series (now to find time to read them in the near future)…I also (as soon as it was a sane hour for facebooking people), told one of my friends that she needed to pick up a Jamie Beck book if she hadn’t already. So that is my advice to you – if you like contemporary romance with wit and humor, that is smexy without being too overboard – then Worth the Risk might be the book for you – but you can’t be afraid of darker, more honest themes.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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