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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading?

its-monday-what-are-you-reading

It’s Monday – What are you reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy first Monday of 2017 – here’s hoping that the year finds everyone with lots of new books to read, new authors to try and old favorites to fall back on!

One of my goals for 2017 is to be a more consistent blogger – I’m aiming for at least 12 reviews a month, including a couple of audiobook ones, as well as 4 blogging posts (kind of like this one). I also need to be better at planning posts for reviews, so that I’m not writing them on the day they are supposed to go live (yeah, I did that a few times last year!). My other non-blogging related goal is to make sure that when I buy kindle books that I log them onto my shelves on Goodreads! I just spent the last couple of days logging 3 years worth of purchases (and I’m still not done yet). Yes, I read a lot, but most of those picks were based on books I had listed on my Goodreads and not other ones that I owned. According to my shelving, I bought 420 books from Amazon in 2016, and only read like 15 of them (out of the 350 odd books that I read). (This also means that I should apologize to any Goodreads friends who may have had me spam the heck out of their feed the last few days as I was shelving books).

crossing-hearts-pictureNow onto what am I reading…in true fashion, I spent most of yesterday in bed reading and finished up my first book of the year – Crossing Hearts by Kimberly Kincaid – I won this in a giveaway on her Facebook author page and wow! My review will go up closer to the book’s release date (Feb 7, 2016). Now, I’m digging into some older books that are in my kindle archive – several of which I’ve owned since the first year I bought my kindle (2008/09)…Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and Fire and Ice by Liz Andrews.

promises-in-deathOn the audiobook side of the house – i’m still slowly chugging away at Les Miserables (you can anticipate seeing this update for the next couple of months). For context, Valjean and Cosette are currently on the run from Javert and have just found themselves in the Convent in Paris. I am also listening to Promises in Death by JD Robb (and all I can saw is Morris 😦 ). One of my goals this year is to listen to at least one of the In Death books a month – which will put me in the high 30’s range by the end of the year (not quite caught up but getting there). When I finish up Promises in Death, I’m going to jump over to the next book in Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series, with Blood Shot.

Stay tuned for my first Bout of Books 18 post that will be going live soon and have a great first Monday of the year!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

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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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Review – The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel – Jennifer McQuiston

the-perks-of-loving-a-scoundrelThe Perks of Loving a Scoundrel
Author: Jennifer McQuiston
Series: #3 in the Seduction Diaries series

Review Copy Provided by HarperCollins Publishing

Description:
Every girl dreams of a hero . . .
No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.
But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.
When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.
When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

Review:
I’m probably a bit late jumping on the Jennifer McQuiston train because I know lots of my friends have been reading her for years and i’ve only read one in the past, but after reading (ok, cramming) The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel, I may have to make it a mission to catch up on her backlist. I mean, who can’t fall in love with an author who opens a book with drunken shenanigans and a wallflower observing certain drunken behavior occurring outside her window (don’t worry, I won’t tell you too much 😉 ) From then on, I knew i was going to be in for a fun ride and McQuiston didn’t let me down.

Having not read the previous books in the Seduction Diaries series, I’m curious to see how this one compared to the others. I liked how McQuiston managed to mix mystery and sleuthing with the romance between Geoffrey and Mary. Honestly, in general, Mary made me laugh – she was a wallflower who while notionally quiet and perfect, really seemed to want to break out of the mold of how society dictates women should behave. you could tell from early on in the book, that she was just bursting to find out who she was and how Geoffrey helped her figure that out (without placating her). there were definately a few moments where she was floating ideas by Geoffrey about the mystery and he just treated her like he valued her opinion and wasn’t just listening to her, for the sake of just listening…

While The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel is the 3rd book in the Seduction Diaries series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone (although I know there are many people out there who get eye twitches if they read books out of order 🙂 ) If you want a historical romance with a rake falls in love with a wallflower storyline, that has witty banter and solid writing, the The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel may be the book for you.

jennifer-mcquistonAbout the Author:
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal.

Connect with Jennifer McQuiston
Website – http://www.jenmcquiston.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/jenmcqwrites
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jennifermcquistonauthor

Rafflecopter Giveaway:
To be entered into a giveaway, click on the following link: Rafflecopter Giveaway

Purchasing Links:
HarperCollins Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Bookish – Olivia Long

bookishBookish
Author: Olivia Long
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
My name is Aubrey Britton. I was your every day average nerdy book blogger, obsessed with the hot guys on the covers but lusting from afar. I knew I’d never meet a guy like the ones in my books, with muscles like that, with eyes like that, with a mouth like that.

I knew I was destined to be an old maid, get a bunch of cats, work at a book store and live in my fantasy world until the day I died.
Hot, steamy sex was something reserved for the girls in my books, not a girl like me.
Until the day I literally fell for Isaac James, the hottest man to grace the cover of any romance novel.

And he wanted a girl like me.
And he had muscles like that.
And eyes like that.
And a mouth like that…and was a filthy talking sex god in the bedroom.

But we both had our secrets and we both had our guarded pasts. When all was revealed, would the nerdy book blogger get the guy?

Or was I destined to be alone forever?

Review:
One of the many things that I love about Goodreads are the friendships that I’ve made and the book recommendations that I get from them. Bookish is just one of those recommendations – it popped up in our August what are you reading thread in one of my romance groups and the mini-review by the member that posted caught my eye. Of course, seeing that it was also available via Kindle Unlimited helped (since I could borrow it as part of my subscription). Double bonus was that it fit into a reading challenge as I needed a book that featured a writer (including book bloggers) as a main character.

I’ll admit that there wasn’t anything in Bookish that blew me away writing or plot wise. In fact, I actually found how the story unfolded to be kind of predictable – there weren’t really any surprises in what happened (and at least to me, much of it was telegraphed through previous actions of the characters). Also, I have to admit that insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes.

But don’t get me wrong – just because I found the plot to be fairly predictable, didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Bookish and I found Ms Long’s writing to be fluid with few errors – just solid – which is this day and age I find to be a bonus. If you are looking for a cute, but predictable romance with an insta-love trope, then Bookish might be the book for you.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover – Sarah MacLean

never judge a lady by her coverNever Judge a Lady By Her Cover
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: #4 in the Rules of Scoundrels series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Justine Eyre
Run Time: 11hrs 55min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Publisher

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.

Review:
Sometimes I just have to laugh at how I end up listening to different audiobooks – specifically, I’ve had the ebook of Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover on my kindle since it was released in 2014 and yet, I hadn’t read it…so it was kind of like fate when it showed up as a nominee for the romance category on the Audies (yeah, I know this review is a little bit late, overcome by events has been a standard term of phrase in my life recently). It seemed like perfect timing because I was in the mood for some historical romance and I’ve been a fan of Justine Eyre’s narration in the past.

If you had been reading (or listening) to the Rules of Scoundrels series then we knew who Chase was (as it been revealed in a previous book) – but even before that, I had wondered who Chase and looking back there were hints that were there but that I had kind of glazed over. And Duncan West…what can I say about him – its hard because I hated him at first, then grew to like him, then hated him again and then liked him again – it was a very love-hate relationship. But that just made the ride to their HEA all the more enjoyable. There were a few times where I just wanted to scream (and it is probably good that no one rides in my car with me while i’m listening to audiobooks)…and other times, where I just wanted to sit and wait to see what happened (causing me to be slightly late to work).

Justine Eyre’s narration fit the story perfectly as it had will the previous books I’d listened to by her – her narration style just fit perfectly with Sarah MacLean’s writing – there is a witty banter style to her narration that just is perfect. As I hadn’t listened to the previous books in the series – I had my own idea of how I thought Chase/Georgina would sound and amazing enough, Justine’s narration was actually pretty close to how I envisioned Chase would sound. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover was a solid way to close out the series and overall, I gave it 3.5 stars and Justine Eyre’s narration 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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