Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: The Game and the Governess (Winner takes all #1) by Kate Noble

Three friends. One Wager. Winner takes all.

The Earl—‘Lucky Ned’ Ashby. Pompous, preening, certain that he is beloved by everyone.
The Miller—John Turner. Proud, forced to work as the Earl’s secretary, their relationship growing ever more strained.
The Doctor—Rhys Gray. Practical, peace-loving, but caught in the middle of two warring friends.

Their wager is simple: By trading places with John Turner and convincing someone to fall in love with him, Ned plans to prove it’s him the world adores, not his money. Turner plans to prove him wrong.

But no one planned on Phoebe Baker, the unassuming governess who would fall into their trap, and turn everything on its head…

Ahhh ... historical romances. Love it!! My first and only note that I took for this novel is that the concept is awesome. I've never read anything like it and the idea is really cool. What's even cooler is that the delivery was awesome. This was a really well written book with pretty complete characters. I didn't once wonder why one of the characters was behaving in this way or that ... everything was so well thought out that I felt like I might know the characters better than they know themselves! 

I really liked how vulnerable yet strong she made the main character, Phoebe. From the first page, you're thrown into Phoebe's life and almost drowned in her turmoil. You are able to catch a glimpse of this young woman and then later, how she has matured and changed. It's quite captivating. AND unexpected for a historical romance to tackle. Usually this genre is all about the dresses, balls and handsome men but this one was a bit deeper even though it is all based on some silly bet. 

Speaking of the bet ... this brought out the best and worst of more than just the men betting. You're able to see how other people react to what they thing is a ridiculous endeavor. This was just an all around fabulous book. One that I really enjoyed, in case you can't tell, and one that I'll read again. Along with anything else that this author has written. So good. 
Oh. Wait. You might be wondering why I gave this novel only 4 stars after waxing poetic about it for forever. Well, there were just a few places where I found myself skimming because I thought it dragged the story down. If it weren't for those passages, this would have flown to the top of my 5-star list. Now, they are not enough to make someone want to shy away ... on the contrary. Go grab this book. You'll really like it, I promise.

Review: Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

First off, this cover is awesome. Judge this book by it's cover!! This New Adult genre just keeps getting better. When the genre just popped into existence a while back, I really didn't know what to expect. Young Adult had encompassed so much and I was just accustomed to it but I'm glad that New Adult has taken these books out of YA. New Adult books are quickly becoming my favorite and this book is a really good reason as to why. 

I wasn't expecting this book to be funny and there are quite a few places where I would chuckle to myself. The back and forth between characters is great and really makes me wonder if these convos are things that have actually happened to the author and she's just writing them down ... they are that good. Now, something to keep in mind is that this book does take place in Australia and there is a bunch of lingo that will be a bit unfamiliar to quite a few people. Thank goodness I fell in love with the movie Bootmen eons ago and I was able to keep up. BTW, if you haven't seen that movie ... you totally need to ... I'm talking Sam Worthington and Adam Garcia. You can thank me later. Anyhow ... there is some Australian lingo. You'll be fine. I promise.

Upside Down really got to me. The struggle that Talia and Bran go through separately and then together was very moving. You can almost feel their heartbreak and the push and pull of their emotions. It's something that will stay with me for a while since reading this. You become attached and almost protective of the characters from pretty much the very beginning of the novel. I also wanted to throttle both of them a time or two! 

Lia Riley is someone that I'll definitely be keeping an eye on. The way that she writes is captivating and I'm really excited to see what her next novels hold. This is her first!!! Very impressive. Now, as a side note ... I would like to thank Riley for some new words and definitions. One in particular made me laugh out loud and I wish that I could say what word it is but I don't have a final copy of the book, I just have an ARC, so I'm not for sure that it will end up in the final book. I truly hope that it does!!!!

Great book. You have to pick it up when it hits shelves on Tuesday, August 5th. Yep. I totally just plugged this book. It's that good.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: The Notorious Lady Anne by Sharon Cullen

Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere—and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.

Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.

I've always been a big lover of historical romance novels. I love everything about them. I just adore reading stories about the 1800's. Anyhow ... I was super excited to get my hands on this one, hoping that I had found a new favorite author. 

Unfortunately, that just wasn't the case. I don't know if it was the pirate thing or what, but I just didn't get this one. And that's really sad since it's received a pretty high rating on other sites. It just wasn't for me. Now don't get me wrong ... I just didn't like the story line ... that isn't to say that the book wasn't written well because it was. It was a well written book, I liked the main hero of the story at first and then he just lost it for me. I just grew ... tired of him. I can't really put my finger on it. I was just really disinterested in what was going on. 

I think this novel was well thought out and well planned, just not for me. From what everyone is saying about this book, if you like historical romance novels, the chances that you will enjoy this one is pretty high. I will probably try another title from this author just to see if maybe it was the pirate thing for me because that is the one word that keeps popping into my head. I blame it on Jack Sparrow. No other pirate will do it for me. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Reveiw: Never Kiss a Rake (Scandal at the House of Russell #1) by Anne Stuart

Bryony Russell and her two sisters are left destitute by the disgrace and unexpected death of their father, a wealthy shipping magnate. He left a cryptic note, and Bryony is determined to find the real villain and clear her father’s name. In disguise as a servant, Bryony infiltrates the home of her father’s business partner to find proof of his guilt…or innocence. It’s not just clues that Bryony finds, but temptation too…

Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, immediately suspects there is something not quite right about his new housekeeper. The brooding, irresistible rake plays along because he has his own guilty secrets, and his venal, scheming wife holds the key to them, trapping him in a hate-filled marriage. But against his will he’s fascinated by Bryony, seeing past the scars on her face to show her the beauty she never knew she had. Bryony must uncover the truth and attempt to preserve her father’s legacy, before things go too far and she falls in love with a man who might very well be her worst enemy.


When I first received this book last year I tried picking it up and I just couldn't get into it. So I decided to put it down and try it again another time. Unfortunately, it just kept getting pushed back further and further on my reading list because I was really kind of dreading picking it up again. What happened if it was just not a book for me? What if I wasted my time on it? Well, thank the heavens, that isn't what happened. I ended up really enjoying this novel and I'm so happy that I picked it up again. And I'm even happier that my views had changed!

Right from the beginning (my second time around), Never Kiss a Rake grabbed my attention and held it. I read it in only two days and I had to force myself to put it down or I wouldn't have gotten anything accomplished at home. The characters are really well written and I can guarantee that you'll fall in love with Bryony as quickly as the Earl did. Anne Stuart wrote the main character as a spunky, entirely too independent for her time, gutsy woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind and has a bit of a hard time playing the servant. I became pretty empathetic to her plight right off the bat and couldn't wait to see what she had to say next. All of the characters were written with a lot of forethought as to their histories and you can tell that they are all well loved by the author because she put so much into each of them.

The story had quite a few twists and turns that I hadn't counted on but was pleasantly surprised with. Now, I love historical romance novels. I've often thought that maybe in a previous life I was in London in the 1800's since I enjoy the stories so much. Anyway, I love historical romances and I REALLY love mysterious historical romances. Such a great surprise at the end ... it's worth reading just to see what happens! 

I'm pretty interested in getting my hands on the next novel in the series and I hope that I can squeeze it in sometime in the future. I really like the idea of the mystery of this first novel spilling over into the next. I was surprised that everything wasn't all buttoned up and I love the idea of the continuation.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Run by Andrew Grant

Marc Bowman, a highly successful computer consultant and software designer, walks into his job at a major tech company one morning only to find himself fired on the spot, stonewalled by his boss, and ushered out of the building. Then things get worse: An explosive argument drives his wife away and a robbery threatens to yank a million-dollar idea—and his whole future—out from under him. In a matter of hours, Marc has gone from having it all to being sucker-punched by fate. But it’s only Monday, and before the week is over, he’ll be stalked, ambushed, wiretapped, arrested, duped, double- and triple-crossed—until he can’t tell enemies from allies.

Suddenly, the only thing standing between him and the wrath of everyone from the FBI to Homeland Security to his desperate ex-bosses is a flash drive full of data that might just be the holy grail of high-tech secrets—and a holy terror in the wrong hands. Now, as the gloves come off and the guns come out, turning back is hopeless and giving up is madness. The only person left for Marc to trust is himself. And the only thing left to do is keep running—or end up a dead man walking.

The cover of this one really caught my eye. I was interested to see what this new (to me) author had up his sleeve because the concept of this novel sounded pretty interesting. Unfortunately, it just didn't hold my attention like I wish that it could have. 

It's not a bad book ... even with it being an ARC it was polished. For those of you who don't know, an ARC is an Advanced Reader Copy ... it's basically just a copy of the book made specifically for reviewers ... there usually isn't a cover, there are probably still grammar/punctuation/spelling issues. It's main job is to get the book out there before it's actually published so that it can create a buzz before it hits shelves. Anyway ... finding an ARC without any issues is pretty rare and I was happy to see how well it was put together. But nothing else really added up for me. 

Is it exciting? Yes. Is it fast paced? Yes. Is it quite confusing? YES! I'd like to think of myself as someone who isn't an idiot but I'm beginning to wonder if that is accurate at all because this book really gave me a run for my money ... haha ... run ... anyway ... there was just too much ... I don't know. Too much intrigue? Gosh. I guess the word intrigue will work ... I can't come up a good word to describe what I mean without spoiling something important. 

Here's the deal ... it's like seeing a cat and knowing that it's a cat but then having someone come up to you and convince you that the person who taught you that it was a cat was totally lying to you and what you thought was a cat is actually a dog. But then the person who first taught you that it was a cat comes back and informs you that the person who told you it was a dog was just trying to fool you and that it actually is a cat and you start to believe them. But then a third person comes up and tries to convince you that the first two people are pulling the wool over your eyes and what you were told were cats and dogs were actually hippos. Are you confused yet? Yeah. That's what this novel was for me. There was just to much flip-flopping and it's not that I couldn't keep up with it but that it totally lost my interest. 

I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters, they felt a little shallow to me ... almost like shells of a person because they just didn't have any depth in my mind. I didn't really care about the outcome of the novel because I just wasn't invested in the characters. It really pains me to say that since there is so much work that goes into writing a novel but there it is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman by Michelle E. Reed

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman
by Michelle E. Reed

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. Confusion over her feelings for Charlie, residual resentment over losing Hannah, and a continuous stream of unwanted assignments leave Dez restless and argumentative.
In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life.
It begins as all their adventures do, but as light falls into darkness, a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers.
In M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, the second book in the Atman City series, Michelle E. Reed continues the story of Dez Donnelly, pushing her to her limits and surprising readers at every twist and turn of the vast world that is Atman.
Death was only the beginning.
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Title: Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman
Publication date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Michelle E. Reed

Michelle E. ReedMichelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
Connect with the Author:

 Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Dark Paradise (Dark Paradise #1) by Angie Sandro


Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of "witch women," she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She's haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.


Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he wonders if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister's killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.

YES! YES! YES! I could really leave my review as just those three words and be extremely happy with it. Gosh, I really don't know where to start. Well, I went into this novel with a few hang-ups. I've been burned by witch and ghost novels in the past. I've sworn off these kinds of novels because of how terrible some of the ones I've read in the past have been. But this one spoke to me, I guess. If I was one of those people that can be won over by a gorgeous cover (who am I kidding, I totally am) then I would want to read it just for that... (which I did). The moment I read the blurb, I was hooked. 

From the first page, I was creeped out. Totally creeped out. I'm talking serious heebie-jeebies. Just thinking about it now creeps me out. And you're totally sucked into Mala's (the main character) world right from the get-go. The novel becomes more and more addictive the further you get into it. This morning, I was about a third of the way through. And now I'm done. I sat down and just read for hours today because I had to know what was going to happen. This is one of those books that makes you neglect the world around you. Be prepared to miss meals. 

I make it a point to not read anything about the authors or their other books when I find a new author. I don't want any outside influences on my first impressions. So I don't know if the author was born in the south but she is totally in tune with how things work down here! My husband and I decided to move our family from Oklahoma to southern Texas ... I mean close to Louisiana when I say southern Texas. Things are just different down here. ESPECIALLY when you get into Louisiana. This is Cajun country and if you're from anywhere up north, you're going to spend your days wondering what in the hell they are talking about and/or eating/drinking most of the time. My point is that this author really makes you feel like you're living out on the bayou and not in a way that makes you feel stupid. The author doesn't talk down to you or over-explain things (which insinuates that us readers are dumb) (and I didn't mean that as an over-explanation because I don't think that you're dumb) (at least not the majority of you). The author just writes like it's as easy as breathing.

About halfway through the novel, I picked out who I thought the bad guy would be. Oh, I was totally sure that I was right. I get all cocky when I can pick out the bad dude in a novel and now I've started doing it earlier and earlier in my readings because I think that I know everything. Well, I was WAY off this time. It was nice being wrong because who I picked would have been too simple for this mysterious and witch-y vortex of words.

Basically, I love this novel. I can't get enough of this novel. It was creepy and sweet and gripping and gritty and spooky and creepy and funny and everything else in between. It had a little bit of everything but not in a way that made it too much or insincere. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. A must read. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one. 

Review: Wide Awake (Wide Awake #1) by Shelly Crane

A girl.
A coma.
A life she can't remember.

When Emma Walker wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of how she got there, she learns that she's been in a coma for six months. Strangers show up and claim to be her parents, but she can't remember them. She can't remember anyone. Not her friends, not even her boyfriend. Even though she can't remember, everyone wants her to just pick up where she left off, but what she learns about the 'old her' makes her start to wish she'd never woken up. Her boyfriend breaks up with the new girl he's dating to be with her, her parents want her to start planning for college, her friends want their leader back, and her physical therapist with the hazel eyes keeps his distance to save his position at the hospital.

Will she ever feel like she recognizes the girl in the mirror?


First of all, whoever designed this cover was a genius. I adore this cover. I wish all covers were this awesome. I can't really put a finger on what it is that just makes this cover amazing but it is. 

Okay ... let's see ... oh. The chapter titles. I won't lie. I HATED the chapter titles. So terrible. I was ready to chunk the book and just call it a day. In my mind, titled chapters (especially ones in such a weird format) are for children's books. But. And you'll hardly ever hear me say this, I was wrong. And I'm glad that I was wrong. Are the chapter titles weird? Hell yes. Do they make sense once you get into the book? Hell yes. I can't think of another way to title these chapters, actually. The author knows what she's doing. So I apologize to Ms. Shelly Crane for prejudging. Well, it wasn't prejudging since I was already reading the book but you get what I'm saying. I was wrong. Just this once.

All in all ... AH-MAZING book. Loved it. Adored it. There were a few spots that were a bit slow but that was it, the writing is stellar, the plot and how it played out was amazing and I loved the characters! I really liked the heroine of the novel. The way that she came across is exactly how I think that I would act in this situation. Can you imagine waking up and not knowing who anyone was? You don't know any of your family or friends or most importantly, yourself. And what if all of these people surrounding you kept telling you that you weren't ... YOU. Just mind-boggling. I can only hope that this never happens to me or anyone I love because I don't know if I would be as strong as I hope I would be. 

I'm really excited about this author. I've never read anything by her and the moving way with which she wrote this novel is pretty cool. I'll definitely pick up the next in this series and I've been looking into some of her other works. Looks like I may have found another favorite author!