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First Line Friday – 15 June 2018

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I don’t know about you guys but i’m struggling with the fact that we are officially halfway through June as of today. They say time flies as you get older (and heck, i’m not even officially that old) – but its sooo true! Although (just a secret between us girls – and guys…I accidently wrote June 2017 on a document at work the other day and didn’t realize it for like 3hrs). Anyways – I had a tough time figuring out what first line I wanted to feature this week because I have two books that I am going to be starting either tonight or tomorrow (depends on how I feel after I get home from the movies…Incredibles 2…heck yeah!). So I figured – why the heck not and featuring both of them! (because everyone who knows me, knows that i’m a bit of a rebel).

The Year 2083 dawns in the icy shadow of winter’s crystalline wings.
From: Ocean Light – Nalini Singh

Description:
Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy.

There was a darker brown stain on our brown suede couch.
From: How To Behave In A Crowd – Camille Bordas

Description:
Isidore Mazal is eleven years old, the youngest of six siblings living in a small French town. He doesn’t quite fit in. Berenice, Aurore, and Leonard are on track to have doctorates by age twenty-four. Jeremie performs with a symphony, and Simone, older than Isidore by eighteen months, expects a great career as a novelist. She’s already put Isidore to work on her biography. The only time they leave their rooms is to gather on the old, stained couch and dissect prime-time television dramas in light of Aristotle’s Poetics.

Isidore has never skipped a grade or written a dissertation, but he notices things the others don’t and asks questions they fear to ask. So when gedy strikes the Mazal family, Isidore is the only one to recognize how everyone is struggling with their grief and perhaps the only one who can help them–if he doesn’t run away from home first.

Why I’m Looking Forward to these Books
So the first one was pretty much a given for me – Nalini Singh is on my auto-read list (although unfortunately, since her psy-changling series moved to hardcover I tend to borrow from the library rather than buy). I’ve had this reserved since it popped in my library’s catalogue a month or so ago – which means i’m one of the first to get to read it 🙂

My other choice this week is a book that I requested through Inter-library loan about a month ago and it finally came in the other week (and since those loans tend to have a short timeframe for the loan, I knew I needed to get it read). But in general – I picked this off a list of books for a challenge because the cover caught my eye – I’ve never read of the author, but after reading the description I was intrigued!

What About You Guys – What is the first line from your current read?

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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First Line Fridays – 23 February 18

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I can’t believe how quickly we are flying through February – I mean admittedly, it is a short month, but the fact that March is starting to appear on the horizon just blows my mind…I’m neck deck in listening to the various audiobooks for the Armchair Audies right now – so my First Line Friday comes from the book I started on my commute yesterday.

I lay on a psychiatrist’s couch, a couch I’d named Alexander Skarsgard the moment my gaze landed on its buttery curves and wide back, and wondering if I should tell Dr. Mayfield about the dead kid scurrying across her ceiling. Probably not.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays

 

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First Line Fridays – 10 November 2017

First Line Friday’s is a weekly feature, hosted by Hoarding Books – so grab a book off your pile and share the first line

John Doe would never understand human ways.

From:
Firefighter Sea Dragon – Zoe Chant

I will say for the most part, many of the authors I have discovered through Kindle Unlimited have been one and done kind of books (i.e. I read one book by the author and no desire to read anymore) – however, occasionally, I find an author that I want to read more of and Zoe Chant is one of those authors. I picked up the first book in this series after I saw it recommended on the now defunct Amazon Romance forums (sad face because I always got really good book recommendations from there). Since then I’ve been reading the books in the series on and off – I just finished up book 3 earlier today and immediately downloaded book 4 because I’m curious about who John Doe actually is. Plus the whole sea dragon shifter is just intriguing, since its something totally different. Here’s to more enjoyable reads by this author and I definately recommend if you like books featuring non-traditional shifters (for the most part) and a fairly relaxed writing style.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2017 in First Line Fridays, Uncategorized

 

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Review – The Angel Wore Fangs – Sandra Hill

the angel wore fangsThe Angel Wore Fangs
Author: Sandra Hill
Series: #7 in the Deadly Angels series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Once guilty of the deadly sin of gluttony, thousand-year-old Viking vampire angel Cnut Sigurdsson is now a lean, mean, vampire-devil fighting machine. His new side-job? No biggie: just ridding the world of a threat called ISIS while keeping the evil Lucipires (demon vampires) at bay. So when chef Andrea Stewart hires him to rescue her sister from a cult recruiting terrorists at a Montana dude ranch, vangel turns cowboy. Yeehaw!

The too-tempting mortal insists on accompanying him, surprising Cnut with her bravery at every turn. But with terrorists stalking the ranch in demonoid form, Cnut teletransports Andrea and himself out of danger—accidentally into the tenth-century Norselands. Suddenly, they have to find their way back to the future to save her family and the world . . . and to satisfy their insatiable attraction.

Review:
Sandra Hill is an author who has been on my to-read pile for a while, in fact, i’d heard about her vikings series quite often (since there are very few authors who write in that romance sub-genre), so when I was approached by her publicist to review the newest book in her Deadly Angels series, I was intrigued (even if it is book 7 in a series, which made my OCD eyeball twitch just a bit)…based on the description, I was intrigued with how the author was going to try and merge the historical world of vikings with a paranormal world with demons and vampires (or rather Lucipires aka demon vampires).

But i got to be honest, I was more intrigued with the viking world that Cnut (funnily enough, I have a co-worker with a similar name) and Andrea ended up in rather than the paranormal undertones of the book. Maybe because to me that part of the story just sucked me in and i haven’t read the previous books in the series to understand the paranormal background. I’ll also say that I had a few issues with the ISIS storyline that the author chose to use, mostly because a whole secret compound in the US isn’t typically how these middle eastern terrorist groups recruit people. It was also like she tried to work in an element of romantic suspense as well with Cnut helping Andrea to find her sister. I don’t know, in general, I think if I were going to read Ms Hill’s stuff again, then i might stick to the straight historicals, like her Vikings series, rather than her paranormals, since this one just didn’t really work for me. Don’t get me wrong, fundamentally, there was nothing wrong with her writing style, it is just a personal preference. Overall, I gave The Angel Wore Fangs 3 stars, because while it didn’t necessarily work for me, it was a solid paranormal romance.

sandra hillAbout the Author
Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons

Connect with Sandra
Websitehttps://www.sandrahill.net/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sandrahillauth
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SandraHillAuthor/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/177305.Sandra_Hill

Purchase Links
Direct from Publisher
Amazon – Mass Market Paperback
Amazon – Kindle

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

 

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Audiobook Review – Seven Years – Dannika Dark

Paranormal nominee banner

seven yearsSeven Years
Author: Dannika Dark
Series: #1 in the Seven series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Nicole Poole
Run Time: 11hrs and 24min
Audiobook Producer: Tantor Media
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Tantor Media

!Warning Spoilers!

Description:
Seven years ago, my world ended.
Seven years later, my new life began.

It’s been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother’s best friend shows up unexpectedly – a man she hasn’t seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he’s a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit.

Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He’s lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi’s family. It’s time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?

Destiny will find you.

Review:
Out of all the books in the paranormal category for the Armchair Audies, this is the one that had me worried the most about the listening – which is kind of funny, since this kind of paranormal romance is normally right up my alley – but I had previously tried to read the book last year and ended up putting it aside around 50%. Most of my concerns about the book had to do with the world building (or lack there of) and where the story was going. However, earlier this year, the audiobook started to be mentioned more and more in several of the Audiobook groups on Goodreads and people seemed to really like the narration. So when it was nominated for an audie, i figured that i would give it another chance, since I know that often not so good books can be made more enjoyable with the right narrator. Unfortunately for me, while Nicole Poole made the book slightly more enjoyable, it was a struggle for me to finish listening.

For me, my biggest issue with this listen was (as with my previous attempt) the world building. Lexi was just a normal girl (or so she thought) and then all of a sudden, she discovers their are shifters in the world and not only that, that she is one. And she just takes it all in stride…i mean, i don’t know about you, but if i found out that I was a shifter, I would probably freak the shit out. From there, I just had trouble with any suspension of disbelief – i mean, i know that is required when reading books with paranormal elements, but yeah, I just didn’t understand the world that the author had created and that for me made the book a struggle. Honestly, I do think that the story in general had potential, if the world building had been stronger/more developed. But with the number of people that enjoyed this book, then maybe its just me.

I feel kind of bad for Nicole Poole, because to me no matter what she did, I felt that she was working with a substandard book and I had a hard time judging her fairly because of my lack of enjoyment for the storyline. That being said, I think she has a lot of strengths as a narrator – she had a diverse range of voices for the different characters. Her pacing seemed to be spot on (but that being said, i did consider speeding it up in a few places to just get the book moving). I even didn’t really have an issue with her male narrations, which for me, is often where I have issues – male narrators sometimes struggle with female voices and vice versa. But her narration of Austin was solid – it didn’t seem to be too wishy-washy (for lack of a better word) with solid tenor intonation throughout. She also did a good job with the narration of Lexi’s little sister, which is also something that I have found narrators struggle with, the little kid which out it being too high-pitched and babyish. The audiobook production by Tantor Media was the same high quality that I’ve come to expect from them, based on my previous experiences.

Overall, while Nicole Poole’s narration was solid and I gave it a solid 3.5 stars, unfortunately, it couldn’t counter-act a substandard story, which I only gave 2.5 stars. While others enjoyed Seven Years and the subsequent books in the series, it just didn’t work for me. But hey, that is what makes reading (and listening awesome), not everything works for everyone, which is why its great that there are so many options out there.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Armchair Audies Overview – Romance

Armchair Audies

On Friday I gave you a brief overview of all the different categories of the Audies and the books that had been nominated as finalists in each of them. Now its time to dig down into my specific categories that I will be reviewing for the Armchair Audies. This is my 4th year reviewing books that have been nominated and I’ve gone back to my roots with the romance category (in addition to the erotica and paranormal catagories that I added in last year). For me, the decision was simple – when I saw that the 5 nominees for romance were traditional romance (with the required happily ever after – as defined by the RWA), compared to the literature with romantic themes that has made an appearance the last couple of years (with books by Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson and others), I knew that it was time to go back to where my reading and listening interests predominant lie.

And the ROMANCE Nominees are…

the duke's holidayThe Duke’s Holiday – Maggie Fenton
Narrated – Sue Pitkin
Audio Publisher – Brilliance Audio

Description:
The Duke of Montford, cold, precise, and more powerful than the Prince Regent himself, wants things the way he wants them: cross-referenced, indexed, and at his beck and call. And he always gets what he wants.

Until he meets Astrid Honeywell. And a giant pig. And a crooked castle in the middle of Yorkshire.

Astrid Honeywell, staunch bluestocking, has struggled for years to keep her family together by running the estate and family brewery after her father’s death. She is not about to let the tyrannical Duke of Montford steal away all she has worked for because of some antiquated contract between their families. So when the priggish Duke comes to call, she does everything in her power—including setting the family pig on him—to drive him away.

She didn’t expect him to be so… well, infuriatingly attractive. Every time he scowls at her, she has the most improper desire to kiss him—and a whole lot more.

Montford can’t decide whether to strangle Astrid or seduce her. The one thing he knows for a fact is that he must resist his powerful attraction for her at all costs. He has a very proper, very demure fiancée waiting for him back in London, after all. But when Astrid is kidnapped by a disgruntled suitor and whisked off to Gretna Green, Montford will do anything to get her back.

Will these two drive each other to Bedlam… or can they make it to the altar without killing each other?

Initial Thoughts:
Both the author and the narrator for this nomination are new to me, so i’m kind of going in blind here on my thoughts. The description sounds interesting, Astrid is likely one of those quirky historical heroines, who doesn’t really fit in the time and place that you would expect – sometimes that works in a romance, other times, not so much. Also sounds like it has the potential to be an enemies to lovers type theme, which is one of my favorite tropes in the romance realm – I just hope that the author does it justice.

the highwaymanThe Highwayman – Kerrigan Byrne
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Audio Publisher: Tantor Media

Description:
STEALING BEAUTY
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception—and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…
COURTING DESIRE
But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret—one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead? 

Initial Thoughts:
While both this author and narrator is also new to me, they aren’t unknown, I’ve heard the series mentioned in the Goodreads Romance Audiobooks group that I moderator several times and people seem to really enjoy the narrator. They’ve indicated some potential issues with some writing in the books, but nothing that totally killed their enjoyment. I like the whole redeemable hero theme in historicals (Sebastian St Vincent from Lisa Kleypas Wallflowers series is one of my all time favorites), and from the description, Dorian fits right into that mould. I found the name Farah to be intriguing and not sure if its entirely historically accruate name(yeah, I like checking those things out), but for now, i’m taking it at face value.

never judge a lady by her coverNever Judge a Lady by Her Cover – Sarah MacLean
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Audio Publisher: HarperAudio

Description:
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear . . . including her heart.

Initial Thoughts:
Both Sarah MacLean and Justine Eyre are known qualities to me – Sarah is one of my current go-to authors for historical romance, because for the most part her heroines are kick-ass and push the bounds of society – I’ve actually had this book sitting on the to-be-read pile for a little while, so maybe its a sign that I was supposed to listen rather than read. Justine Eyre is one of the narrators that I’ve been coming across more frequently – while i’ve never listened to any of her historical romance narrations, I do like her performance in Nalini Singh’s Archangel series.

sir richard kenworthyThe Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy – Julia Quinn
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Audio Publisher: HarperAudio

Description:
Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second—or third—look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

Initial Thoughts:
Julia Quinn is also a known quantity for me – i’ve probably read her entire backlist of the years and while she’s had a few misses here and there, most of her books are solid reads. that being said, i’ll readily admit that I haven’t been totally enarmoured with Rosalyn Landor’s narration in the past (I think i’m probably one of the few in the romance community). I think in part that is because the books i’ve attempted to listen to that she has narrated, have been multiple read favorites and her voices just didn’t match up with my characters. But since I haven’t read this one, here’s hoping, I enjoy more.

A Sorceress of His Own – Dianne Duvall
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Audio Publisher: Tantor Media

Description:
Since 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.

Initial Thoughts:
Dianne Duvall is also a new to me author, although I’ve seen her mentioned many times in different discussion forums. I’ll admit to being intrigued by the idea of a novel that mixes historical with paranormal romance, since those seem to be on the rarer side. I’ve listened to Kristen Potter previously (ironically a couple of years ago when she was nominated for another Audie in the romance category) and I remember enjoying her narration, but for some reason, hadn’t sought out any more books by her.

Initial Prediction of Final Rankings
1. The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy – Julia Quinn, narrated by Rosalyn Landor
2. The Highwayman – Kerrigan Byrne, narrated by Derek Perkins
3. Never Judge a Lady by her Cover – Sarah MacLean, narrated by Justine Eyre
4. A Sorceress of His Own – Dianne Duvall, narrated by Kristin Potter
5. The Duke’s Holiday – Maggie Fenton, narrated by Sue Pitkin

*initial rankings are based on my thoughts on the book description/author; knowledge/experience with narrators

Stay Tuned for posts on Erotica and Paranormal

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events

 

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Review – Claiming Their Royal Mate – Andie Devaux

claiming their royal mateClaiming Their Royal Mate
Author: Andie Devaux
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Daniella Clark has lived blissfully unaware of her heritage, but as her true nature reveals itself, a need rises that she cannot control. Her sexy-as-sin neighbor, Owen, eases her carnal heat and introduces her to a world she never even suspected existed.

But the weretiger prime, Erick, wants her for his own. And he is more than willing to fight his second-in-command for the woman he claimed the moment he laid eyes on her luscious form. He will do anything to protect his people, and their future rests in Daniella’s hands.

Even as Daniella revels in the sensuality of the weretiger males, she fights to maintain her sense of self. But when old enemies arise, the battle for her heart isn’t the only fight they must face. And Daniella will have to decide how much she is willing to risk for the men who want her for their mate.

Review:
I’ll admit that I’m normally not a fan of serial type romances, but since this was the complete story, I decided to give it a try. I’ll even admit that I was kind of surprised with how much I enjoyed it and how well the story was constructed/written. Yes, I’ve been known to be very verbal about my dislike of the serial trend in general… I also appreciated how the author used different types of were- compared to current popular wolves/bears/lions (even if Tigers are big cats) 😉 As this was a book that had been originally published in a serial format, each of the 4 sections had a satisfying beginning/middle/end – even if they were each only about 70pgs long. There were a few cliff-hangers between each of the sections where I just wanted to scream out loud – thankfully, I didn’t have to wait for a new installment to come along – I just don’t get how people can wait for story resolutions like this!

I found the authors writing style to be very engrossing and I found myself not wanting to put down the book once I started (and not just because of the cliff-hanger endings) – but because I was invested in the world that she created. And she wasn’t too shabby on the smexy scenes either, and since it was off the charts hot from the start, that doesn’t surprise me. Although, just so you are warned – this does feature a menage storyline – so stay clear if you don’t like those sorts of things. I liked how Ms Devaux developed the suspense element of the story – it was solidly written, but didn’t overwhelm the romance, which is always important to me. And most importantly, I was invested enough in the characters and the world building that I want to read more stuff written by the author in the future.

Overall, I gave Claiming Their Royal Mate 3.5 stars, mostly because I while I realized it was a serial, I wanted more to the storyline – it was solid, but there were a few places where there could have been some more development. But I’m intrigued enough that I want to read more by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Book Review

 

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